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  • Crockett secures third place in 9-3A (VIDEO)

    Kickoff ReturnPHOTO COURTESY OF LARRY LAMB Trinity’s Marquavian Jaramillo returns the opening kickoff against Crockett Friday night.

    By Larry Lamb

    The Crockett Bulldogs can breathe a little easier heading into the first round of the state football playoffs.

    Coach Jimmy Thompson’s crew took care of business in their District 9-3A DI finale by dominating the visiting Trinity Tigers 39-0 Friday night to secure the third place seed.

    Crockett plays District 10-3A runner-up Anahuac in bi-district while fourth-place Trinity faces No. 8 ranked East Chambers, the District 10-3A champion.

    The Crockett-Anahuac matchup will be played Friday, Nov. 13 at 7 p.m. in Woodville’s Eagle Stadium.

    In other key district matchups Friday, Coldspring defeated Diboll 20-12 to capture the District 9-3A title and will play Woodville Thursday night in Crockett’s Driskell Stadium at 7 p.m. Woodville defeated Anahuac 27-22 but Anahuac took second based on a tiebreaker.

    Crockett’s first touchdown against Trinity was courtesy of the defense.

    A pick-six by sophomore Zandric Anderson on Trinity’s fourth play got the ball rolling and kicker Antonio Cruz put the Bulldogs up 7-0 with 10:51 in the first quarter.

    Anderson foiled Trinity’s second possession when he recovered a fumble at the Tiger 35. The Bulldogs scored three plays later on a 36-yard pass from sophomore quarterback Jadyn Collins to senior Ty White. Cruz, who was perfect on extra points, made it 14-0 at the 8:58 mark.

    After an interception by Keshun Easterling near midfield, the Bulldogs drove to the Tiger 12 before coughing up the ball.

    Pick SixPHOTO BY LARRY LAMB Crockett’s Zandric Anderson returns an interception for a touchdown against Trinity in a showdown for third place in District 9-3A DI Friday night.

    Unable to move the ball, Trinity was forced to punt and a high snap sailed out of the end zone for a safety to give Crockett a 16-0 lead with 4:16 left in the first quarter.

    Another interception by Easterling set up Crockett’s next touchdown. The junior snared the pass and returned it to the Tiger 48, but a penalty moved the Bulldogs back to their 35 yard line. Collins hit White for a 15-yard gain and found Randy Jones on a pinpoint 44-yard touchdown pass two plays later. The PAT put Crockett up 23-0 at the 11:00 mark in the second quarter.

    Crockett only had to travel 22 yards for its next touchdown after forcing Trinity to punt from the 10 yard line. Dennis Simmons picked up 18 yards to set up a four-yard blast by Easterling for a 30-0 lead at the 8:51 mark.

    Late in the first half Trinity reached the Bulldog 27 yard line on the running of junior fullback Andrew Crabtree before turning the ball over on downs.

    Crockett marched down the field but was unable to punch the ball in before fumbling at the Tiger 5 with :42 left in the half.

    After Jones returned the second half kickoff to the Crockett 17, the quick-striking Bulldogs extended their lead when Easterling took it to the house on an 83-yard run on first down just 21 seconds into the third quarter.

    Another high snap on a Trinity punt resulted in a safety that put Crockett up 39-0 with 7:46 to go in the third quarter.

    Crockett attempted an unsuccessful field goal from the 29 yard line on its next series.

    Trinity mounted a deep threat in the fourth quarter behind the running of Crabtree but ran out of steam at the 9 yard line.

    Crockett will also host a Class 4A bi-district game between Jasper and China Spring on Friday at 7:30 p.m.

     

  • DETCOG five-year transit plan summarized

    DETCOG Cunningham 052721ALTON PORTER | HCC Mark Cunningham, above, of DETCOG, presented a summary of the entity’s five-year transit coordination plan for residents in its 12-county region who have transportation needs or know of available services.

    By Alton Porter

    CROCKETT – Staff members of the Deep East Texas Council of Governments & Economic Development District (DETCOG) have held public meetings in the 12 counties the entity covers, including Houston County, to offer and receive information on transportation needs and services in the region.

    The meetings drew small attendances, according to DETCOG Regional Disaster Economic Recovery Coordinator Mark Cunningham, who came to Crockett last Tuesday, May 18, to present the Deep East Texas Regional Public Transportation Coordination Five-Year Plan and collect information from Houston County residents who have transportation needs or know of available services.

    Low turnouts at the meetings is not stopping DETCOG staffers from attempting to spread information about the plan and collect information from regional residents, Cunningham told the Courier at the Houston County meeting.

    “Some of our counties do not have any public transit,” DETCOG Regional Planner Bob Bashaw was quoted as saying. “In some of our counties you can call and schedule a ride a couple of days in advance. Some of our cities have fixed bus routes. The planning process gives us an opportunity to look for better ways these resources could be used.

    In addition, the press release states, “Anyone providing transportation is also encouraged to provide information on their services at the meetings. Matching up available rides with needs is an important part of the plan.”

    Persons who have needs or know of services and were unable to attend any of the meetings “can also submit comments and information at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.,” Cunningham stated, adding they may also call the DETCOG office in Lufkin at 936-634-2247. Also, “they can call 211—the 211 program—and they can be referred,” he said.

    Cunningham said, “We contracted with TxDOT (Texas Department of Transportation) to create a five-year regional transit plan. It’s one that we do every five years through TxDOT. It’s for the DETCOG region.

    “The contract was finalized before Jasper (County) was moved to the Southeast Texas Regional Planning Commission. So, they’re still included in this plan.”

    Cunningham explained, “Right now, Brazos Transit District is the designated public transit provider in the DETCOG region. They operate demand-response transit services in Houston, Polk, San Jacinto and Trinity counties. And then, they do fixed-route bus services, where the buses just make regular routes in the cities of Nacogdoches and Lufkin.

    “So, you can call them for the demand-response, or you can go online—btd.org. Then, the fixed-route bus services—you can find out more about those at btd.org, as well. As of right now, there aren’t any known public transit services in Jasper, Newton, Sabine, San Augustine, Shelby or Tyler counties.”

    Cunningham continued, “So, those counties don’t have the bus services from BTD or any others that we know at this point, which is why we’re having these meetings. We’re having the meetings so that we can learn of anybody that is providing transit services to veterans—to anybody, really.

    “So, that’s really the whole purpose of these meetings that we’ve been having in each of the 12 counties that makeup DETCOG. We go out in the communities; we ask people if there are people providing that services. We’re making sure that people have the information that they need and making sure we can get to the information so that we can pass it on to TxDOT so they can have it as well.”

    Cunningham added, “There are a few providers, like Nacogdoches has a taxi service and Lufkin has a couple of services, as well. But BTD is the main public transit.”

    He said the main needs DETCOG and BTD staffers have heard about in the region are medical needs and veterans’ needs, but he was not aware of any in Houston County. “That’s why we’re holding these (public meetings) so that we can hear from the public; so that anybody that has unmet needs, anybody that has ideas of needs, they can go through.”

    The Houston County public meeting was DETCOG’s ninth one, Cunningham said. Meetings also were held last week in Angelina, Trinity and three other counties. Meetings were held in the six other DETCOG region counties week before last.

    The message Cunningham said he would like to distribute to residents in the region is “just if they know of needs and have ideas of what can be used, to contact us—to reach out to us—and we can pass that along. We want to be able to provide as much help as we can—just to get the word out and to make sure that they can get that (help). We’re here to make sure that we can get that feedback. We are required to have the meetings, but we just can’t stress enough that people need to reach out with anything they’ve got.”

    Jo Marlow, of Bryan, BTD’s vice president for marketing and communications, who was present at the Houston County meeting and attended several others, according to Cunningham, confirmed Cunningham’s statement that Brazos Transportation District provides transit services in several counties in the region.

    “We provide a demand-response service. It’s a door-to-door service where people can—we would pick them up from one location and take them to another location. Here in Crockett, the majority of our transit needs are mainly medical—people getting to and from doctors’ appointments or hospital visits—something like that—or a pharmacy.

    “Our services are available to anybody,” said Marlow. “You don’t have to be disabled to use it. We’ll take you anywhere you’ve gotta go within Houston County.”

    To request BTD’s services, a person must first fill out a short application; “and then, if you want to call or schedule a ride, we’re going to need your pick-up location and your drop-off location, and if you’re going to an appointment or something, we need to know what time you need to be there,” Marlow said.

    The phone number to dial to request services is 979-778-0607, BTD’s main office number, and the caller will be transferred to its dispatch office to talk to a dispatcher to get setup for their trip, she said. “You can call up to a week in advance. As soon as you know when you’ve got an appointment, I would suggest calling because we do fill up pretty fast.

    “We do offer same-day service, but that’s just based on availability if we have the space and the drivers available, but I would suggest that you do it as soon as you can.”

  • Dixon takes reins as Crockett AD/football coach

    IMG 1493LARRY LAMB | HCC Lufkin native and former Texas A&M football player Alton Dixon is the new athletic director and head football coach at Crockett High School.

    By Larry Lamb

    Crockett ISD has selected Alton Dixon as its new athletic director and head football coach.

    Dixon, one of more than 130 applicants, was officially approved by the school board Monday night.

    The new AD was introduced to athletes Tuesday and is expected to start full time the last week of March.

    Dixon, a Lufkin native who played college football at Texas A&M, comes to Crockett from class 5A Wylie East High School where he was defensive coordinator/assistant head coach the past three years.

    “They hadn’t won in years and when we got there we flipped it over. That was the first time they’d been in the playoffs in about 15 years,” Dixon said of Wylie East’s program.

    Dixon was a defensive player at Lufkin High School under legendary coach John Outlaw and defensive coordinator Todd Quick.

    He was awarded a scholarship to Texas A&M University where he was a four-year starter. He first played cornerback for the Aggies, then safety and linebacker. One of Dixon’s teammates was former CHS sports star L’Tydrick Riley.

    After graduating from A&M, Dixon said he had some opportunities in the NFL that didn’t pan out so he started working in the Aggies weight room for strength and conditioning coach Dave Kennedy.

    “That’s kind of what got my coaching itch-bug started,” said Dixon, who then returned to his high school alma mater as assistant football coach for Quick, who had moved up to head coach after Outlaw’s death.

    He remained at Lufkin for about five years before accepting a defensive coordinator position with 5A Dallas Molina.

    Dixon credits his high school coaches – Outlaw and Quick – for influencing his career choice. “ I don’t have any family ties to coaching. I think I got that coaching in me from those guys. They are my coaching family,” he said.

    Describing his coaching philosophy, Dixon said, “It’s discipline, commitment, loving each other, playing hard-nosed football most importantly, but we’re going to be very, very much a class-act. We’re going to have great character when we play the game.”

    Dixon said his decision regarding a run or pass oriented offense for the Bulldogs will be based on “what we have in the cupboards” personnel-wise.

    “I do know we have a great athlete at quarterback and I do know we have great speed so that all aligns to being able to spread it out a little. I’m not a guy who’s going to walk in and say you’ve got to do this, this and this. I’m a guy who says let’s evaluate what we have and let’s go for it like that,” he said.

    Starting his career at Lufkin under coach Quick, Dixon said he learned the “fundamental ways” of defense.

    “We started with the basics of a 4-3 defense. But here in Crockett we have such great speed I believe we’re going to be able to continue what coach (Gary) Grubbs has done with the 3-4 defense. I really love the speed that we have and I love his premise and philosophy. I think we’re going to blend very well. He’s done a really good job of having a solid foundation of defense so we’re going to carry on, but very similar to what we’re going to do on offense.”

    Once Dixon gets settled in, he plans for the Bulldogs to participate in 7-on-7 and have them competing in a higher bracket this year. “We want to play a more competitive bracket with 5A-6A early on and then get into an SQT in the 3A-4A bracket,” he noted. “We know what kind of children we have. We have the kind that other people would pray to have.”

    A summer strength and conditioning program is also planned and some of the junior athletes will attend football recruiting camps to prepare for their senior seasons. “From there we’ll move into fall camp pace,” he said.

    Dixon has always been impressed with Crockett’s rich athletic tradition.

    “It’s always been tradition-rich. I know the kind of athletes that come out of here. I know the story of the Crockett Rocket (Claude Riley) and I know L’Tydrick Riley. I know all those Rileys. It’s East Texas. Smells like home, feels like home. Ain’t nothing like being in God’s country. We build a certain brand of boy and girl out here, a certain brand of woman and man. I think these children are a special cut from Texas, I really do.”

    Regarding the high amount of interest the position generated, Crockett ISD Supt. John Emerich said applications continued to trickle in after the cutoff two weeks ago.

    “I think that’s a testament to what people think Crockett is and can be,” Emerich said of the 300-plus applicants. “I had lots of folks to choose from and it was a pretty difficult process. I went through every single application and read those.”

    Emerich said he received a number of calls recommending various coaches for the position.

    “But this man (Dixon) was actually not one of those that was recommended to me. There was something about his application that stuck out to me,” said Emerich.

    “I narrowed it down to 18 and interviewed them. Then I narrowed it down to five finalists that I brought in and talked to them more extensively. This guy (Dixon) just kept rising to the top after that whole process. I think this is the right fit for me, which means it’s the right fit for Crockett, for our kids and our community. I really think he’s going to be a good partner of mine in helping to fulfill the mission that I’d like to see happen here in Crockett. I think we share the same vision on that kind of thing,” he continued.

    Emerich said in closing, “I’m excited. I’m excited for our kids here, Crockett ISD and for the community. This man is just what we needed here. I think he’s going to be the key to helping us get to the next level. You know what we have here naturally and if we tweak a few things I think we can really see some different results. This is the man to help us do that. That’s why I brought him forward to the board. It seemed like the board thought that way too last night after they met him. We’re excited to see what he’s going to do here.”

    Dixon summed up, “I am very grateful to Mr. Emerich. It wasn’t easy. He made me sweat a little bit during the process and pressed me really hard. I think he saw my heart and saw my passion, and I think that’s how we got here today.

    “I’m looking forward to meeting members of the community. They are going to get my best at all times and I have nothing but their child’s success on my mind. I look forward to being out in the community and building up great relationships and building and enhancing our great traditions that we have here. Go Bulldogs. Go Big Blue.”

  • ESD2 members elect new, continuing leaders

    IMG 7735ALTON PORTER | HCC Above, members of Houston County Emergency Services District No. 2, which supports and provides assistance to fire departments throughout the county, attended a monthly meeting in Crockett Thursday, Feb. 25, at which they elected officers to lead the district and its board of commissioners and at which they addressed other matters.

    By Alton Porter

    Members of Houston County Emergency Services District No. 2 (ESD2) have elected new and continuing leaders for the district’s board of commissioners following the reappointment and appointment last month of two ESD2 commissioners by members of the county’s commissioners court.

    The ESD2 members elected the board’s officers at a meeting Thursday, Feb. 25.

    Promoted to the position of ESD2 president is William Money, who had been serving as an ESD2 commissioner and who replaces former president George Crowson Jr., who was not reappointed to the ESD2 board by the commissioners court members last month.

    Elected to serve as ESD2 vice president is Steve Hawkins, who was appointed by the members of the commissioners court last month to replace Crowson as a commissioner on the ESD2 board. Hawkins was welcomed aboard ESD2 by the district’s members who were present. As vice president, he replaces former VP Bobby Hutcherson, who was reappointed by the members of the county commissioners court last month to continue serving on the ESD2 board but who stepped down from the VP position at the Feb. 25 meeting.

    Peggy Patrick, who had been serving as secretary-treasurer was reelected as treasurer only upon her request, and board member Roy Langford was elected to replace her as secretary.

    During public comments, Crowson, the ESD2 previous president, addressed the emergency services district members who were present.

    “In my recollection, as far as I can recall, this is my 224 meeting with the ESD of a 14-year period,” Crowson said. “To the fire departments, I want to tell you it’s been a pleasure, a privilege and an honor to serve on your behalf. What you guys do—not only what you do, but the passion with which you do it—it leaves me in awe. It truly, truly does.”

    Crowson noted that county Precinct 3 Commissioner Gene Stokes, of the commissioners court, was present at the meeting and that “out of those 224 meetings which we spoke of, this is only the second time that we’ve had a commissioner at one of our meetings in 14 years. And I think I can speak for the whole organization and say, ‘Thank you for being here’.”

    Stokes responded to Crowson saying, “We appreciate your service.”

    The former ESD2 president continued, “I’m assuming I’m not on the board. No one has shown me the courtesy to tell me that I was not, but I kind of picked it up on the airwaves there.

    “To the board, what I want to remind you of, and I hope you will think about this in every decision you make, is you are an independent political subdivision of the state of Texas. You cannot be beholden or subservient to any individual, any special interest group, any group of people of any kind, including the commissioners court. If you are, all taxing democracies will fail.”

    Crowson added, “The only people you are beholden to are the people that pay this ESD tax. It has served me well. If you will remind yourself of that in every decision that you make, I think you will continue to be successful.

    “This ESD is tremendously successful, at least in my opinion—not because of me, but because of the involvement of people and the (county’s fire) departments themselves. I know it is financially in good shape. And I know that through Mr. Stokes and all you other board members, it will continue to do that.

    IMG 7725ALTON PORTER | HCC Former President George Crowson Jr., of the Houston County Emergency Services District No. 2 (ESD2) Board of Commissioners, who was not reappointed to the ESD2 board earlier last month, addressed ESD2 members as he departed from the entity during a meeting in Crockett Thursday, Feb. 25.

    “It has been an honor and a privilege; I served at the pleasure of the commissioners court and it was no longer their pleasure. That’s perfectly fine; it is their option to do whichever they want to do.

    “I’ve enjoyed almost every moment of it. It’s been some moments that haven’t been so enjoyable, but that comes with the territory. But anyway, thank each of you for what you do.”

    After Crowson left the meeting, Money, the new ESD2 president, said, “He’s not here, but in my opinion from being on the other side of the table—he was on this side of the table—George has guided this board efficiently and diligently through a lot of stuff over the years, from helping get it started to getting it where it’s at.

    “And in my opinion, our directive change is none. We’re here to serve two priorities: the firefighters (of Houston County) and the taxpayers. And that is it. I may be the next one that goes after George, but that is how I look at it. … I will do my best to continue the direction of this board and keep it solid.”

    Among items requiring action, the ESD2 members voted to receive a $100 bid from Brijesh Patel, a member of the Kennard Independent School District Board of Trustees, to buy and remove, within 30 days, a building on the site on which they’re planning to have a fire station built in Ratcliff.

    The board members also had advertised via the Courier for bids for the laying of a six-inch-thick concrete slab for $16,000 for the planned fire station building, but none had been received. So, the ESD2 members decided to seek out a construction company to perform this project.

    In other business, they tabled action regarding a contract between ESD2 and the city of Crockett. “The city of Crockett wanted to redo their contract with the ESD…,” Patrick said.

    Money explained, “When we formed ESD2, Crockett opted out of the vote. Kennard voted to not be in the ESD because they didn’t want (to pay) the extra tax. So, we’ve got Crockett and Kennard that are not members of the ESD….

    “Crockett has basically the biggest fire department in the county—covers the most area, covers everybody else’s back. We call it the gray area. So, we contract with Crockett. We pay them $70,000 a year to cover that area. We provide some trucks for Crockett and provide them service and help.

    “So, Crockett covers the gray area and that works to try to keep the ISO, which is the insurance rate, in those areas down. So, we contract with Crockett to cover that area. Crockett FD’s budget is $500,000-plus a year and we add them an additional $70,000 plus trucks or whatever we can afford to help them with to cover that area. We upped the rate and renegotiated with them. And so, we’re getting a new contract set up with them.”

    Chief Jason Frizzell, of the Crockett Fire Department, said he had emailed the city’s attorney, who is reviewing and possibly making adjustments to the contract, and he was waiting to hear back from the lawyer.

  • Fiddling champ to appear at Camp Street

    Ridge Fiddler 052021COURTESY PHOTO Ridge Roberts

    By Chris Edwards

    CROCKETT – With the availability of live music returning to the hungry ears of the public as the threat of COVID wanes, Camp Street Café has a couple of shows lined up for the remainder of May, and this weekend the venue will host a world-class fiddler.

    Ridge Roberts, a 17-year-old North Texas native who won the World Champion Fiddler title in 2018 in Crockett, will play his album release show at Camp Street on Saturday. The show begins at 8 p.m. The album he is promoting is titled Lone Star Fiddler and was recorded last year in Nashville.

    According to Roberts’s bio on his official website, the album “pays homage to his deep Texas roots….and gives a big tip of the hat to the musical pioneers and legends of the past.” Roberts has been fiddling since he was seven years old, when his father, John, taught him the basics.

    Along the way, he soaked up and researched fiddle tunes and the styles of the old masters of Texas fiddling.

    Roberts will be joined on Saturday’s show by two special guests, Matthew Mefford and Joey McKenzie. McKenzie, a guitarist, appears on the album, and helped mentor the young fiddler.

    McKenzie spoke about Roberts’ musical growth as a singer, songwriter and guitarist, to add to his virtuoso fiddle work. “With all he’s been up to, it’s easy to forget that he’s only 17 and is just getting started in his musical life,” McKenzie said. “Ridge is also becoming a fine guitar player, singer and songwriter.”

    The instrumental album features many old-time Texas fiddle standards, like “Sally Goodin” and was produced by McKenzie.

    Although he is, as McKenzie stated, “getting started” on a new phase of his musical development with having an album available, Roberts is no stranger to playing live. He has been performing for audiences since he was nine-years-old, when civic organizations in Granbury asked him to play at their meetings. In 2013, when he was 10, he won his first contest, and has won many since then, including the National Twin Fiddle Championship and Junior World Champion. He has also filled the fiddle role in the band the Western Flyers, a Western swing/traditional country band.

    According to his bio, the young Granbury-based musician continues to hone his musical gifts and plans to

    continue his musical career after graduating high school.

    In an interview for a feature story published last year, Roberts said he does not think of himself as a “big thing,” but attributes his talents as “a huge blessing from God, for sure.”

  • Fisher declared re-elected as mayor

    2 Mayor Fisher 031621ALTON PORTER | HCC Crockett’s re-elected mayor Dr. Ianthia Fisher presides over Monday’s council meeting.

    By Alton Porter

    CROCKETT – Dr. Ianthia Fisher has been declared re-elected as Crockett’s mayor in a city council resolution. She was unopposed in her bid to continue serving as the city’s elected leader, a position to which she was initially elected in 2019.

    Fisher is one of two candidates who originally filed to run for mayor in the city’s Saturday, May 1, election. However, the other candidate, James Jellum, withdrew from the race before ballots were printed, according to City Secretary Mitzi Thompson. Therefore, members of the city council voted to approve a document of certification of Fisher as an unopposed candidate for mayor, an at-large position, at a meeting on Monday, March 15.

    After approving the city certification of unopposed candidate for mayor, the councilmembers, in a related action, voted to approve a resolution authorizing cancelling the election of mayor in the scheduled May 1 election.

    The resolution also states that only one eligible candidate, Fisher, had filed to run for mayor and had not withdrawn by the Feb. 12 deadline “and hereby declares the unopposed candidate (Fisher) elected to office and shall be issued Certificate of Election following the time the election will be canvassed.”

    In another election-related matter, the councilmembers voted to approve a resolution, appointing election officials for the regular general election, setting the rate of pay for the election officials and the maximum number of election clerks for the polling places, and designating the early voting ballot board.

    Also, in preparation for the municipal election, the councilmembers approved designation of two deputy early voting clerks, who are “authorized to perform any duties which are assigned by me in the performance of conducting early voting,” wrote Thompson, who also is the early voting clerk, in the designation document.

    Council seats up for election in the May 1 election are those for City Precincts 1 and 2. Candidates for the Precinct 1 position are incumbent Butch Calvert, Gene Caldwell and Samantha Wiley. Precinct 2 seat candidates are incumbent Darrell Jones, Charles Clawson and Vicki Cox.

    On election day, polls for the councilmember elections will be open 7 a.m.-7 p.m. Election day polling places are: Precinct 1, All Saints Episcopal Church Annex, 1301 E. Houston Ave.; and Precinct 2, Crockett Fire Station, 201 N. 6th St.

    Early voting by in-person appearance will be conducted at Crockett City Hall, 200 N. 5th St., April 19-23, 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m., and April 26-27, 7 a.m.-7 p.m.

    Applications for ballots by mail should be mailed to Mitzi Thompson, City Secretary, 200 N. 5th St., Crockett, Texas, 75835, and must be received in the secretary’s office no later than by the close of business Tuesday, April 20.

    In other business, the councilmembers voted to approve an ordinance, temporarily reducing the speed limit from 55 mph to 45 mph for motor vehicles being driven in either direction on State Loop 304 between State Highway 19 and SH 7, while much of that section of the loop is under construction.

    The councilmembers also discussed city facility operations and current COVID-19 measures. “Basically, what the city is doing is there are certain facilities that we do have control over,” said Fisher.

    “And as far as the city facilities, they’re going to remain pretty much stable, recognizing the CDC guidelines that they already have,” she added.

    There’s no limit on the size of gatherings “unless we run into a problem and they (users of city facilities) can’t ensure their safety,” Fisher said. “If it presents a problem where people were saying it was so congested, then we will have to readdress it and set a cap on it.

    “But right now, everyone that has basically used the facility—even for concerts—have been so mindful of being able to respect the safety of others. So, we haven’t had that problem; we don’t anticipate having that problem. But in case we do, we will be able to readdress it and be willing to put a cap (on gatherings at the facilities) if it has to be.”

    The mayor added, “But we are asking that you (users of the facilities) maintain the safety guidelines. Whatever your percentage should be, it should be in accordance with what you can do—staying within the guidelines.

    “And then the other part of it (the mayor and councilmembers approach) is that we did ask the city (staffers) to take into consideration the CDC guidelines. And even though the (former) mask mandate isn’t in effect anymore it is important that we still continue to protect ourselves to the best of our ability. And that’s a simple way with the basic guidelines: washing our hands, wearing masks, social distancing and those kinds of things.”

    Summer Fun Day planned

    During Police Chief Clayton Smith’s regular report, he said the police department is planning a Summer Fun Day event to be held Saturday, June 5, if allowed by COVID protocols and depending on what is going on at that time. “We haven’t been able to have a community event in a while because of Covid and everything going on,” said Smith.

    He noted, June 5 is during “the first weekend that the kids are out of school,” and added, plans are to have the event in Davy Crockett Memorial Park with waterslides, possibly around the splash pad, and event planners are “just trying to get all the kids out to have fun.”

  • Former NFL player, Crockett native drowns at Rayburn

    Pete Lammons trading card as a New York JetCOURTESY PHOTO Pete Lammons trading card as a New York Jet

    By Chris Edwards

    A man who drowned in Lake Sam Rayburn on Thursday was identified on Friday by authorities as that of Peter Spencer “Pete” Lammons, Jr., a 77-year-old Houston man who was once an NFL athlete.

    Lammons, who was reportedly an avid outdoorsman, was fishing in the Major League Fishing’s Toyota Tournament when the incident occurred on Thursday. According to Texas Parks & Wildlife, the drowning occurred near San Augustine Park, which is located on the east side of the lake, seven miles southwest of Pineland. The drowning in the second that has occurred in the region during this week. On Sunday, 18-year-old Richard Tyler Johnston, of Hemphill, drowned in Dam B.

    Texas Parks & Wildlife game wardens recovered his body by using sonar, but efforts to revive him were unsuccessful, according to a press release from Major League Fishing. The accident occurred when Lammons fell overboard at the dock while preparing to fish in the tournament, according to MLF.

    Lammons was a native of Crockett and played football for Jacksonville High School in the late 1950s and early ‘60s before he matriculated to the University of Texas in Austin and played as a Longhorn. He was drafted as an eighth-round pick by the New York Jets in the 1966 AFL draft, according to ESPN, where he played as a tight-end through 1971. He finished his career as one of the Green Bay Packers in 1972.

    Pete Lammons as UT Longhorn courtesy of UTPete Lammons as UT Longhorn courtesy of UT

    Lammons was a starting defensive player on the Jets’ Super Bowl III championship team, and he was also a part of the UT 1963 national championship team under legendary coach Darrell Royal.

    Lammons also played for another legendary coach, Bum Phillips, as a high school freshman. Phillips was then head coach at Jacksonville High School. Years later, the two men met again on the sidelines of the 1967 AFL All-Star Game.

    According to Lammons’s nephew Lance, his uncle had been fatigued from two recent stent surgeries and tripped as he was about to board the boat, fell into the lake and could not be saved.

    After his football career, Lammons was involved in real estate and horse racing. He was also a professional angler, and had competed in more than 50 of the MLF tournaments.

    On a story about Lammons’s death on the New York Jets’ official website, his nephew is quoted as saying that “Pete wanted Jacksonville to have his Super Bowl ring and his National Championship ring from the University of Texas.”

    Lammons also has a scholarship named in his honor for Jacksonville HS graduates.

  • GISD trustees honor students and retirees

    Swearing InALTON PORTER | HCC Four Grapeland ISD trustees, from left to right, Josh Goolsby, Brad Spisak, Ryan Richie and Allen Cheatham, were administered the oath of office to begin new terms by Business Manager Julie Martin at a meeting Monday.

    By Alton Porter

    GRAPELAND –  Honoring several Grapeland High School (GHS) students for their outstanding scholastic and athletic accomplishments this semester and two retiring teachers for their years of service as educators were the highlights of the Grapeland Independent School District (GISD) Board of Trustees special meeting held Monday, May 17.

    In recognition of GISD excellence, the trustees, high school administrators and staff members introduced and commended GHS’ 2021 graduating class valedictorian and two salutatorians, members of the boys basketball team, and the girls golf and softball teams for their outstanding performances. In addition, the two retirees were recognized.

    The GHS Class of 2021 valedictorian is Cierra Espinoza, and the salutatorians are Mary Jane Watson and Stacy Perez-Maldonado, who were introduced by Katie Doughty, associate principal of instruction and guidance, as were three Pilot Program participants who made the President’s List and Dean’s List.

    The Sandies basketball team won the championship runner-up trophy in the UIL Class 2A Boys State Basketball competition. Several of the team members who were present were introduced by Head Basketball Coach Blake Doughty.

    Members of the Sandiettes golf team, introduced by Coach Tyler Terry, advanced all the way to the UIL Conference 2A state playoff tournament.

    The Sandiettes softball team advanced to the area round (Region 4) in playoffs. Head Softball Coach Trina Pierce introduced the majority of the team members who attended the meeting.

    The two longtime educators, described as “very special retirees” by GISD Superintendent Don Jackson and introduced by Doughty, are science teacher Karen Cole and history, government and economics teacher Arthur Betz.

    “I would like to consider them legends here at Grapeland High School,” Principal Doughty said. “When I think of these two, the word that comes to mind is truly solid. They are reliable (and have) great relationships with kids.”

    GISD Board President and Position 2 Trustee James Martin, who presented plaques and Christian devotional booklets from district officials to the two retirees, said, “You all are both so special. They taught all three of my older kids. We love you guys, and you all are going to be truly missed. We’re so thankful for you all.”

    A video presentation featuring comments made by school staff members honoring, thanking, congratulating and showing appreciation to Cole and Betz, and wishing them joy and happiness in their retirement was played after they were introduced.

    In addition, during the recognition part of the meeting, newly hired Athletic Director Jordan Wood, as well as two new faculty members—Heather Wood and Kelli Fletcher—were introduced.

    In other business, four members of the GISD board—Josh Goolsby, Brad Spisak, Allen Cheatham and Ryan Richie—who were unopposed in their bids to continue serving on the board, as their previous terms expired this year, were declared reelected and were administered the board’s oath of office and presented a statement of public office by Business Manager Julie Martin.

    In reorganizing the board for the next 12 months, Martin was reelected to continue serving as president, Position 1 Trustee Brad Spisak was newly elected to the position of vice president and Position 3 Trustee Kendra Huff was reelected as secretary.

    In another matter addressed by the trustees, they heard a report on district facility improvement initiatives from Jackson and a presentation by Zane Oliver, of Lucas Roofing of Crockett.

    After discussion, the trustees voted to accept—pending confirmation that the roofing materials are the ones they expect—the lowest of two bids submitted by Typhoon Roofing of Sugarland to make repairs to the roof of the junior high school building, one of the district’s oldest structures, which has water leaks.

    In addition, Jackson suggested that district officials hold a strategic planning meeting and draft a two- or five-year plan for the district’s facilities “to see where we want to go and what we want to do.”

    In another action, the trustees approved a retainer for the district’s attorneys.

    The trustees approved a change to the district’s Policy DC(LOCAL) regarding the hiring of teachers.

    “I believe that’s the policy where we’re asking that our administration office has the power to hire teachers in the next month,” Jackson said.

    Julie Martin added that “it gives people notice that we can hire them on without having us call a special, called meeting to get that approved. It would bring them to you (trustees) at the next meeting. I think we have a few positions open. And so, it would give the authority before the cutoff date in July because there’s a certain day that people have to have resignations turned in.”

    In his monthly report to the trustees, Jackson said, in reference to repairs and upgrades that are being made to the district’s Lorena Shultz Auditorium, “We’re moving really good. I think we’re ahead of schedule.”

  • Grapeland boys win playoff opener

    IMG 0874LARRY LAMB | HCC Besides putting on a three-point clinic, senior B. J. Lamb dazzled fans when he slammed the ball home during the Sandies’ 87-68 bi-district win over Frankston.

    By Larry Lamb

    “Lose-the-flip-win-the game.”

    That hashtag posted on social media became the battle cry for the Grapeland Sandies going into their bi-district game against Frankston on Saturday, Feb. 20.

    After plans to play the game at Rusk fell through due to weather-related issues, the two schools agreed on flipping for home-and-home.

    Frankston won the coin toss but home court advantage was not enough for the Indians to overcome the No. 3 ranked Sandies, who prevailed 87-68.

    The Sandies jumped out to an 11-2 lead but after Frankston cut the lead to two, the Sandies closed out the quarter with a 13-6 run.

    Led by senior B.J. Lamb’s five-of-five trey barrage, the Sandies pulled away to lead 29-20 at the end of the first.

    The Trinity Valley Community College football recruit dazzled fans when he stole the ball and raced down the floor for a slam dunk.

    Then Lamb drilled a three-pointer at the buzzer to boost his first quarter total to 17 points and give the Sandies a nine-point lead.

    Although his family’s home was destroyed by fire earlier in the week, Lamb was able to overcome adversity and focus on the game.

    Lamb, who finished the night with seven treys, booked a game-high 33 points and 11 assists to attain double-double status.

    Frankston stayed close early in the second period but saw the Sandies rattle off a 21-5 run in the final five minutes of the half to pull away 54-32.

    After Grapeland took its biggest lead of 30 points early in the third, Frankston answered with a 13-2 flurry to get within 19.

    The Sandies answered with a big run, however, to push their lead out to 73-49 heading into the final period.

    The Indians stayed alive with another 13-2 run that whittled the gap down to 75-62 with 3:40 left.

    But Frankston’s hopes of a miracle finish evaporated with a 12-6 run by the Sandies down the stretch.

    Two other Sandies joined Lamb with double-doubles.

    Cadarian Wiley was right behind him with 32 points and 12 rebounds.

    Wiley scored six in the first quarter, 10 in the second and eight in each of the last two frames.

    Keizion Ashford buried three treys and tallied 12 points along with 10 assists.

    Riley Murchison contributed six points on a pair of treys, Omarian Wiley chipped in four and Michael Dancer had two.

    In an earlier bi-district game in the Frankston gym, top-ranked Martin’s Mill defeated Lovelady 90-41.

    Fans were already speculating about a possible third round clash pitting the Sandies and Martin’s Mill.

    Grapeland defeated Mart 74-44 in the area round and Martin’s Mill edged Rosebud-Lott 59-42 to set up a showdown in the regional quarterfinals Saturday, Feb. 27 in Frankston.

  • Grapeland eyes state crown

     MG 5696PHOTO BY MARSHA COOK Grapeland sophomore Riley Murchison drains one of his six 3-pointers over Schulenburg’s Keisean Johnson in the state semifinal Tuesday.

    By Larry Lamb

    The Grapeland Sandies are one win away from bringing home the school’s second boys basketball state championship.

    The Sandies (29-1) handled Schulenburg 74-60 in the state semifinal Tuesday night in Aldine ISD’s Campbell Center and advanced to the Class 2A championship game against Clarendon (24-4) Saturday in San Antonio. Tip-off is 10 a.m. in the Alamodome.

    Since winning the 1985 state crown, Grapeland has made tournament appearances in 1999, 2001, 2014 and 2017 but hasn’t been able to get past the semifinal round.

    Now that the 2021 Sandies have crashed through the semifinal barrier, the Clarendon Broncos are the last obstacle to the gold.

    Clarendon, located in the panhandle east of Amarillo, beat Lipan 68-47 in the state semifinal.

    This is Clarendon’s fifth appearance in the state tournament but the Broncos have never won a title.

    Both Grapeland and Clarendon reached the Final Four in 2017 and lost to Muenster. Muenster beat the Sandies 56-52 (OT) in the state semifinal and then knocked off Clarendon 73-45 in the championship game.

    In addition to a trip to state in 2010, Clarendon made two appearances in 1968 and 1969 as a class 1A school. Clarendon’s ’69 team fell to Kennard in the championship game.

    With the state crown on the line Saturday, Grapeland hopes to duplicate the first quarter offensive firestorm it unleashed against Schulenburg.

    Paced by Cadarian Wiley’s 11 points in the opening period, the Sandies raced out to a 26-6 lead.

    Schulenburg opened the second with a 7-0 run to slice the lead in half but saw Grapeland open up a 21-point edge. The Shorthorns were able to cut the lead to 45-29 at halftime.

    Schulenburg came out energized in the third and scored three unanswered baskets to make it a 10-point game.

    Wiley finally broke the scoring ice with a free throw at the 5:45 mark but two quick buckets by Schulenburg trimmed the gap to seven, 46-39.

    Senior B. J. Lamb and sophomore Riley Murchison took matters into their own hands and fueled a 17-2 run that put Grapeland back in control 63-41.

    The Sandies’ 17-point frenzy included four consecutive treys – one by Lamb and three by Murchison.

    Two late Schulenburg tallies made it 63-45 heading into the final period.

    The Shorthorns got within 11 with 2:00 left but hopes of a miracle comeback faded with a steal and back-to-back buckets by Lamb.

    Schulenburg scored its final point at the line with :55 left and seemed content to let the Sandies run out the clock.

    Wiley and Murchison, who drained six treys, each finished with 23 points. Murchison also made his presence known on defense with seven steals. Wiley had six steals and eight rebounds.

    Lamb swooshed in three treys and rounded out double figures with 17. Omarian Wiley chipped in seven and Keizion Ashford had four.

    Schulenburg senior Brycen Wilson capped his career with a game-high 30 points and senior Kenny King followed with 13.

  • Grapeland finishes season as state runner-up

     MG 6402COURTESY OF MARSHA COOK Grapeland’s Caderian Wiley battles for a loose ball against Clarendon in the UIL Class 2A Boys Basketball State Championship game Saturday in San Antonio. The Sandies battled to the bitter end but came up short 64-60.

    By Larry Lamb

    Grapeland High School’s overflowing display case is even more crowded now with the addition of the 2021 UIL Class 2A Boys Basketball State Runner-up trophy the Sandies brought home Saturday from San Antonio.

    The Sandies lost a hard-fought battle with the Clarendon Broncos, 64-60, in the championship game at the Alamodome.

    Despite falling behind by eight late in the game, the Sandies refused to throw in the towel.

    Trailing 54-46, with 5:59 left in the game, the Sandies went on a 14-5 run to slip in front 60-59 with :35 left.

    Clarendon tied it on a free throw with :24 left and converted a steal into a layup with :11 left to go ahead 62-60.

    The Broncos scored their final bucket with :04 after a turnover by the Sandies.

    Grapeland trailed 18-12 after a quarter but Clarendon opened up an eight-point lead early in the second.

    A layup by B.J. Lamb with :21 left in the half closed the gap to 30-26 at the break.

    “We hadn’t shot the ball particularly well. We did some things that were uncharacteristic of us and we were still right in the game. We talked to the guys at halftime about staying the course, continuing to work hard and continuing to play hard all the way through,” said Grapeland head coach Blake Doughty during a Zoom post-game press conference.

    An energized Grapeland crew started the second half with a 6-1 run to slip in front 32-31 at the 6:32 mark in the third.

    After Clarendon went in front 39-34, the lead changed hands several times.

    Three straight buckets by Keizion Ashford, Lamb and Omarian Wiley gave the Sandies a 44-41 lead -- their biggest since early in the first half -- with :36 left in the third.

    With :01 left in the third, Clarendon’s Donovan Thompson heaved up a three-pointer -- the only one by either team -- to put the Broncos up 47-46 heading into the fourth.

    Senior State All-Tourney honorees Lamb and Ashford led the Sandies’ scoring with 19 apiece. Lamb was 7 of 8 at the line.

    Wiley rounded out double figures with 13. Omarian Wiley had five while Riley Murchison and Michael Dancer chipped in two apiece.

    Clarendon’s Donovan, who led all scorers with 21, was named Championship Game MVP.

    “Obviously we’re disappointed. Everybody that gets to this point and doesn’t reach the top of the mountain is disappointed. But I’m so proud of these guys and the humans that they are. I’m so proud of the people that they are going to become as they move on from Grapeland High School. That’s really the important part of this and it’s hard to keep that in perspective all the time when you’re talking about the state final game. These guys mean the world to me. They’re great, great kids,” said Doughty.

    This was Grapeland’s sixth appearance in the “Big Dance” since the 1985 Sandies captured the state crown. Grapeland made subsequent trips to state in 1999, 2001, 2014 and 2017 but was unable to crash through the semi-final barrier until this year.

    Clarendon’s state championship is the first in school history after five previous tournament appearances.

    Praising his team’s resiliency, Doughty added, “These guys never quit. They never gave in. They never turned on each other and that part’s great. We got to the point at the end of the game and both of our senior guards (Lamb and Ashford) had fouled out. That part can make it difficult to close out and finish games,” said Doughty, whose team ended the year with a 29-2 record.

    Asked what Clarendon did to make it difficult for the Sandies, Doughty responded, “I thought they matched our athleticism and that’s something we don’t see all the time. But more than that, we just didn’t have a good day shooting the ball. We didn’t shoot the ball from the three, we didn’t shoot the ball well from the free throw line.”

    The Sandies rained a barrage of 11 treys in their semifinal victory over Schulenburg but went 0-of-8 from beyond the arc against Clarendon. They left 15 points at the charity stripe, hitting just 14 of 29.

    Clarendon (25-4) made just one of eight from beyond the arc and nailed 13 of 24 free throws.

    Doughty continued, “They’re good defensively and they’re active, but I think that’s got more to do with us than it does them.”

    with us than it does them.”

    Ashford and junior Cadarian Wiley joined Doughty for post-game interviews.

    “It’s been a good season because of the great teammates I have. It’s been an amazing season. We just came up short,” said Ashford.

    An emotional Wiley said, “I’m going to take this loss and we’re going to be back next year.”

  • Grapeland reaches Elite 8

     MG 5027MARSHA COOK PHOTO Grapeland’s Cadarian Wiley shoots over Gary defender Landon Woodfin during a regional semifinals matchup Tuesday night in Lufkin.

    By Larry Lamb

    After toppling No. 1 Martin’s Mill, the Grapeland Sandies added another notch on their belt by taking down No. 9 Gary 48-46 in the regional semifinals Tuesday in Lufkin.

    Grapeland’s win sets up a showdown between the No. 3 Sandies (27-1) and No. 4 LaPoynor (26-5) in the regional final Friday night at Fairfield High School.

    LaPoynor, which edged Big Sandy 53-50 in the regional semifinals, handed the Sandies their only loss, 61-56, back on Dec.12.

    The winner of the Grapeland-LaPoynor matchup advances to the state semifinal round March 8-9 with a ticket to the Class 2A State Championship in San Antonio on Saturday, March 13 up for grabs.

    Grapeland led by six three times in the final five minutes but could not put Gary away.

    The Sandies had a six-point lead with 1:50 left after Cadarian Wiley hit his third straight bucket.

    Gary answered with a deep trey and then hit one of two free throws to make it 47-45 with 46.8 seconds left.

    Grapeland’s B.J. Lamb went to the line for a one-and-one situation with 10.9 seconds left. He sank the front end but the second would not fall, holding the Sandies’ lead at 48-45.

    Trailing by three, Gary inbounded the ball and a foul on Cadarian Wiley sent the Bobcats to the line for two shots with 1.8 seconds left.

    Needing a miracle, the Bobcats’ only hope was to make the first free throw, intentionally miss the second, get the rebound and score.

    Landon Woodfin’s first attempt was good to make it 48-46. His second shot hit the rim and the Sandies collected the rebound as the buzzer sounded, setting off Grapeland’s victory celebration.

    Playing their preferred brand of run-and-gun style of basketball, the Sandies raced out to a 6-0 lead.

    After Gary slowed the tempo, the Bobcats were able to match Grapeland’s six points the rest of the first quarter but still trailed 12-6.

    Gary was within a point with 4:45 left in the second when the Sandies pulled away 21-15 on three unanswered buckets.

    The Bobcats drained a trey in the closing seconds of the half, capping a 10-2 run that put them on top 25-23 at the break.

    Seizing momentum in the third quarter, the Sandies went on a 10-2 run to take a 33-27 lead at the 4:00 mark.

    Gary scored back-to-back buckets to make it a two-point game with :25 left. In the closing seconds Mike Dancer heaved an errant trey but a rebound and put-back by Keizion Ashford at the buzzer pushed the Sandies’ lead to 35-31.

    Lamb went to the bench with four fouls at the 1:08 mark in the third and returned early in the fourth after Gary nailed a pair of free throws to get within two.

    Held to their lowest offensive output this season, the Sandies were led by Cadarian Wiley’s 18 points. Wiley scored eight of Grapeland’s 11 points in the second quarter and made three consecutive baskets in the fourth.

    Lamb, who scored his team’s only three-pointer of the night, recorded a double-double with 16 points and 10 rebounds

    Keizion Ashford scored nine, Mike Dancer and Omarian Wiley chipped in two apiece, and Riley Murchison had one.

    Gary’s Ryan Ecker led a trio of double-digit scorers with 15. Landon Woodfin had 13 and Dakota Beckham finished with 11.

    Grapeland made 5 of 10 free throws and Gary hit 10 of 13.

    The Sandies came into the game riding momentum from an 81-75 upset of top-ranked Martin’s Mill Saturday afternoon in Frankston.

    The match-up featuring two of the state’s premier class 2A teams lived up to all the pre-game hype.

    Grapeland led by three after a quarter and outscored the Mustangs 26-18 in the second to open up an 11-point halftime lead.

    After Lamb hit two straight buckets to put the Sandies up 41-30, Mustang Carter Jones drilled a trey to make it an eight-point game with :10 left in the half.

    Lamb had an answer, however, when he heaved a 3-point buzzer-beater from half court to stretch the Sandies’ lead back to 44-33 at the break.

    Martin’s Mill came out sizzling in the third, hitting three treys in an 11-2 run to cut the lead to two, 46-44.

    A 9-2 run put Grapeland up 55-46 but the Mustangs tied it 61-61 on a deep trey in the waning seconds of the third.

    The game was tied at 67 early in the fourth when a put-back by Murchison ignited a 6-0 run that put the Sandies up 73-67.

    After their lead was cut to two, 77-75, the Sandies hit four clutch free throws down the stretch to seal the victory.

    Lamb, a Trinity Valley Community College football signee, led the Sandies with a triple-double of 22 points, 10 assists and 10 rebounds.

    Wiley booked 22 points and nine rebounds while Ashford rounded out double figures with 16 and led with five steals.

     

  • Groveton girls nip Lovelady for district track crown

    IMG 2689LARRY LAMB | HCC Groveton’s Ingrid Rojo took first in the 100 hurdles and second in the 300 hurdles at the District 20-2A Track Meet.

    By Larry Lamb

    A first place finish in the 1600-meter run and a third place showing in the 1600 relay lifted Groveton to the District 20-2A varsity girls track championship in the finals Friday, April 9 at Centerville High School’s Tiger Stadium.

    That strong finish by the Lady Indians in the last two events gave them a total of 167 points, putting them two points ahead of Lovelady (165) in the district team standings. Jewett Leon (137.5) finished a distant third, followed by Centerville (94.5), Latexo (20), Slocum (5) and Grapeland (0).

    The meet was scheduled to take two days, but inclement weather stretched competition into a third day.

    Field events, running prelims and 3200-meter races took place Monday. Athletes returned Thursday for the running finals at 6 p.m. and the meet was running on schedule until shortly after 7 o’clock when a 30-minute lightning delay was called. Subsequent threatening weather in the area forced the delay to be extended and eventually the remaining six events were postponed until Friday morning.

    The top four finishers in each event advanced to the area meet Thursday in Madisonville where they competed for a regional berth April 23-24 at Palestine Wildcats Stadium.

    Results of the district meet are as follows:

    District 20-2A Track Meet

    Monday, April 5 - Thursday, April 8 - Friday, April 9

    Varsity Girls

    Team Standings- 1, Groveton 167. 2, Lovelady 165. 3, Jewett Leon 137.5. 4, Centerville 94.5. 5, Latexo 20. 6, Slocum 5. 7, Grapeland 0.

    Running events

    100 dash – 1, Jacy Stubblefield, Lovelady, 12.78. 2, Anaya Bloodworth, Groveton, 13.28. 3, Charlee Biano, Latexo, 13.49. 4, Kortney Bynum, Lovelady, 13.55. 5, Kaitlyn Kirschner, Leon, 13.90. 5, Kameron Denman, Centerville, 13.90.

    200 dash – 1, Lauren Salley, Leon, 27.56. 2, Jacy Stubblefield, Lovelady, 27.87. 3, Keyonna Holley, Centerville, 27.93. 4, Maya Calvin, Leon, 28.84. 5, Emma Alexander, Groveton, 28.85. 6, Anaya Bloodworth, Groveton, 29.93.

    400 dash – 1, Lauren Salley, Leon, 1:03.11. 2, Madison Johnson, Leon, 1:04.90. 3, Kinsley Kornegay, Centerville, 1:07.49. 4, Tanaysha Cole, Groveton, 1:07.68. 5, Shyanne Pipkin, Lovelady, 1:07.75. 6, Josselyn Cruz, Groveton, 1:09.65.

    800 run – Madison Johnson, Leon, 2:36.46. 2, Rylie Croston, Centerville, 2:36.72. 3, Kaitlyn Bailey, Centerville, 2:36.96. 4, Kinsey Hardee, Centerville, 2:38.81. 5, Claire Stevens, Leon, 2:40.72. 6, Josselyn Cruz, Groveton, 2:43.86.

    1600 run – 1, Caitlyn Antley, Groveton, 6:06.61. 2, Claire Stevens, Leon, 6:08.36. 3, Isavel Bautista, Groveton, 6:18.34. 4, Abby Sarraf, Slocum, 6:19.68. 5, Skyler Shaw, Groveton, 6:22.27. 6, Shyanne Pipkin, Lovelady, 6:33.84.

    3200 run – 1. Claire Stevens, Leon, 13:14. 2, Caitlyn Antley, Groveton, 13:17. 3, Rylie Croston, Centerville, 13:19. 4. Kaitlyn Bailey, Centerville, 13:25. 5, Isavel Bautista, Groveton, 13:31. 6, Abby Sarraf, Slocum, 14:28.

    100 hurdles – 1, Ingrid Rojo, Groveton, 18.99. 2, Emma Carmicheal, Lovelady, 19.90. 3, Daisia Leonard, Groveton, 20.65. 4, Hanna Huffstuttler, Lovelady, 20.90. 5, Olivia Ice, Lovelady, 21.00.

    300 hurdles – 1, Scout Lovell, Lovelady, 51.34. 2, Ingrid Rojo, Groveton, 55.94. 3, Olivia Ice, Lovelady, 57.15. 3, Samantha Hobbs, Centerville, 57.15.

    5, Emma Carmicheal, Lovelady, 57.72. 6, Daisia Leonard, Groveton, 1:05.31

    4x100 – 1, Leon (Ramirez, Sitton, Oviedo, Calvin), 51.65. 2, Groveton (Kaylee McRory, Maicey Smith, Emma Alexander, Breanna McQueen), 52.00.

    1. Centerville (Keeton, Denman, Rivenbark, Holley), 52.97. 4, Lovelady (MaKenna Pierce, Bailee Albinus, Kortney Bynum, Aaliyah Jones), 53.88. 5, Latexo (Charlee Biano, Emily Bird, Shelby Eberts, Taylor Dise), 56.31.

    4x200 relay – 1, Leon (Ramirez, Sitton, Oviedo, Calvin), 1:50.18. 2, Groveton. (Breanna McQueen, Emma Alexander, Kaylee McRory, Maicey Smith), 1:51.56. 3, Lovelady (MaKenna Pierce, Bailee Albinus, Scout Lovell, Jacy Stubblefield), 1:53.49. 4, Latexo (Charlee Biano, Emily Bird, Shelby Eberts, Taylor Dise), 2:01.87.

    4x400 – 1, Leon (Salley, Johnson, Sitton, Oviedo), 4:18.12. 2, Centerville (Holley, Hardee, Kornegay, Kapchinsky), 4:24.25. 3, Groveton (Breanna McQueen, Caitlyn Antley, Kaylee McRory, Maicey Smith), 4:26.18.

    Field Events

    Long jump – 1, Jacy Stubblefield, Lovelady, 16-1 ¼. 2, Ciera Keeton, Centerville, 15-4. 3, Breanna McQueen, Groveton, 15-1 ¾. 4, Aaliyah Jones, Lovelady, 14-2 ¾. 5, Emily Bird, Latexo, 14-0. 6, Alexis Easterling, Groveton, 13’10.

    Shot put – 1, Jenny Kapchinski, Centerville, 32-2. 2, Canaan Dillard, Groveton, 31-6. 3, Stacy Rojo, Groveton, 27-10. 4, Magali Castillo, Lovelady, 27-8. 5. Hollie Seidel, Lovelady, 25-8. 6, Hannah Spurgeon, Groveton, 24-7.

    Discus – 1, Kylie Pugh, Lovelady, 88-1. 2, Magali Castillo, Lovelady, 86-8. 3, Stacey Rojo, Groveton, 86-7 ½. 4, Canann Dillard, Groveton, 84-7 ½. 5, Hannah Spurgeon, Groveton, 78-2 ½. 6, Danielle Glasgow, Lovelady, 74-9.

    Triple jump – 1, Makenna Pierce, Lovelady, 31-6 ½. 2, Maya Calvin, Leon, 31-5. 3, Kortney Bynum, Lovelady, 30-11. 4, Kaylee McRory, Groveton, 29-0 1/2. 5, Emma Alexander, Groveton, 28-7. 6, Daisia Leonard, Groveton, 27-9.

    High jump – 1, Shyanne Pipkin, Lovelady, 5-2. 2, Kieyn Smith, Groveton, 4-8. 3, Emily Sitton, Leon, 4-6.

    Pole Vault - Jacy Stubblefield, Lovelady, 9-6. 2, Kameron Negrete, Lovelady, 9-0. 3, Scout Lovell, Lovelady, 8-6. 4, Ingrid Rojo, Groveton, 6-6. 5, Kaitlyn Bailey, Centerville, 6-0.

  • Ham radio: hobbyists offer valuable service

    German amateur radio contest station 2017German amateur radio contest station 2017 Ptolusque, Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 4.0, CC BY-SA 4.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

    By Chris Edwards

    HOUSTON COUNTY – Sometimes a hobby is more than just a way to pass the time (and spend money.) In the case of amateur radio operators (ham radio) the hobby is one that is more of a valuable service that can be a lifeline in times of need.

    Houston County has its own group of “ham” operators, the Houston County Amateur Radio Club. The club is affiliated with the Amateur Radio Relay League, which was founded in 1914. Through that affiliation, the club can help anyone who is interested in becoming a member get licensed to operate ham radios, and even work on them. There are currently three levels of certification for ham operators: technician, general and extra.

    The first level is the entry point into ham radio, and as to how long it takes a person to acquire the certifications, well, it just depends, according to Van L. Sims. Sims, who has been involved with ham radio since the 1970s, and serves as the club’s treasurer, said the main purpose of the certification tests is to learn the ins and outs of the different bands, or the frequency allocations.

    A ham radio station can be set up anywhere, such as in field or in one’s home. Club vice president Larry Small said “When all else goes down, if we’ve got a 12-vote battery, and some wire, we can talk anywhere.”

    Amateur radio operators have a basic, working knowledge of radio technology and pass examinations to operate on radio frequencies known as the “amateur bands,” which are allocated by the Federal Communications Commission for use by ham operators.

    Ham operators have been essential in times of disaster and are often unsung heroes. Sims noted that 5,000 hams provided all of the communication in the aftermath of the events of Sept. 11, 2001 in New York City. Hams also provided essential services after Hurricane Katrina ravaged Louisiana in 2005.

    The Houston County club derives its operating expenses from fundraisers, and they have five each year, although their 2020 fundraising activities were curtailed by COVID. The club’s current big project is to convert one of its four repeaters to solar power. Sims said of the project that in a time of emergency, if there is a massive power outage, the ham operators will still be able to get essential communications across with solar power.

    Sims is quick to point out how grateful the club is to the late David Lamb. Lamb, who served as the county’s emergency management coordinator, was able to obtain a great deal of equipment for the club, including its bus.

    The club is also planning on installing a ham station in the Houston County Sheriff’s Office. Sheriff Randy Hargrove is a ham operator and serves as the club’s president.

    The club, whose call sign is WA5EC, meets at 7 p.m. on every second Tuesday of each month at the old National Guard Armory (EOC Building) which is located at the corner of Edministon Drive and Christy Lane near the Davy Crockett Park in Crockett. Anyone who has an interest can join the club, and dues are $15 per member, annually. It has a field day planned for Saturday, June 26, beginning around noon, at the Davy Crockett Park.

  • HCHD directors settle debt with county

    IMG 0169ALTON PORTER | HCC Operations Supervisor Cassandra “Cassie” Gallaway, above, of Houston County Emergency Medical Services, presented a report on the ambulance services providers services to patients in the county last month to Houston County Hospital District board members at a meeting Tuesday, May 18.

    By Alton Porter

    CROCKETT – Members of the Houston County Hospital District Board of Directors approved a board’s Negotiations Committee proposal to make a partial reimbursement payment of $150,000 to county government to settle a debt the hospital district owed the county. The HCHD directors took the action at a meeting Tuesday, May 18.

    In approving an agreement to make the partial reimbursement, negotiated with county officials to settle the debt, the directors passed a motion, made by Place 6 Director Rhonda Brown and seconded by Board Vice President and Place 4 Director Dr. John Stovall.

    The motion was offered to approve the “negotiated settlement with Houston County for ten months ambulance cost (a few years ago) upon preparation (of) appropriate legal documents by the board attorney, Board President and Place 1 Director Barbara Crowson said.

    The negotiated reimbursement/settlement agreement between county government and hospital district officials was approved by members of the Houston County Commissioners Court at a meeting Tuesday, May 11, after members of the HCHD board’s Negotiation Committee had met with County Judge Jim Lovell and County Auditor Melissa Jeter and arrived at the proposed partial reimbursement agreement.

    The HCHD directors were to make the payment to county government officials immediately after the directors approved the agreement at their meeting.

    The directors passed the motion following a board Negotiations Committee report, made by Crowson and discussion by board members.

    Place 8 Director Dina, a Negotiations Committee member, noted, “They (county officials) said we owed them one hundred and seventy-four thousand and something (dollars). And our attorney said it was an error that someone did not file an interlocal agreement in the correct timing. And so, he though we only owed them $128,000.

    “But we managed to work in between, and we settled for $150,000. And so, we’ve (HCHD board members) agreed … and they (county officials) approved it last Tuesday (May 11) in their meeting to accept $150,000 as final payment over and done with the ambulance. And we’re even with them and they’re even with us, and we’re all happy about it right now.”

    Crowson added “And our attorney has provided the settlement documentation so that we will be delivering … a $150,000 check to them (county officials) ASAP. And based upon their signing, (they will) release us from any obligation for that. If you look at it from a monetary standpoint, we saved something over $24,000 for the hospital district.

    “And they (county officials) were gracious to do that for us. The county judge was amenable, and he was able to get the county commissioners to vote for that. So, that was very grateful, and it’s another thing that’s kind of off our plate, which we feel real good about, which allows us to look at what we owe in other places. So, that worked out well.

    “The interlocal agreement was signed in the summer of 2017 and it’s been dragging on all this time, and we finally have been able to get that done.”

    In other business, the board’s oath of office was administered by Stovall to five board members who were unopposed in their efforts to be reseated and seated in positions on the board.

    Those board members are Crowson, Place 7 Director Harvey Bruner and Place 9 Director Carol Dawson, who are continuing after serving previous terms on the board, and newly seated Place 3 Director Debbie Kelly and Place 5 Director Roy Langford.

    Since all five of the directors were unopposed in seeking positions on the board, the hospital district’s previously scheduled May 1 trustees election was cancelled at a March 23 meeting.

    In a reorganization of the board, two existing officeholders—President Crowson and Vice President Stovall—were reelected, and Pipes was elected for the first time to serve as secretary. The officers, who were nominated by the board’s Nomination Committee, will lead the board the next 12 months as officers elections are held annually.

    IMG 0166ALTON PORTER | HCC Five continuing and new members of the Houston County Hospital District Board of Directors were administered the oath of office by board member Dr. John Stovall, right. Receiving the oath, from left to right, were Harvey Bruner, Roy Langford, Barbara Crowson, Carol Dawson and Debbie Kelly.

    The board members heard a report, presented by Cassandra “Cassie” Gallaway, operations supervisor for Houston County Emergency Medical Services, on ambulance services provided to county patients by the ambulance services provider in April.

    Gallaway reported that Houston County EMS received 294 requests for ambulance services last month and transported 185 patients. “Of those, we life flighted four patients” by helicopter, Gallaway said. “Eighty-four percent of the patients that we transported (to 911 transport destinations), we brought here to Crockett Medical Center.”

    Most persons responded to by the provider were neurological patients, but cardiac, respiratory and other categories of patients were served, Gallaway said, adding, “We’ve seen a major decline in the amount of Covid-19 patients. So, that’s always really good news.

    A report on operations and activities at Crockett Medical Center (CMC) was presented by CMC Chief Executive Officer Tommy Johnson.

    “Mainly, the big thing I want to address tonight is to give you guys kind of an update on our numbers,” said Johnson. “We are almost back to pre-Covid now. We were still probably almost a hundred shy during ER (emergency room) month, which was April. “However, we invested in some new telemetry equipment on the floor. So, our admission rate has gone up.

    “We’re keeping more patients because we can now monitor them better. We’re probably … averaging around three and a half patient stay days a month now for each day. So, that means we’re at about three and a half average patients a day. That’s up from about 1.2 or less some months.”

    Johnson said a lot of painting, sprucing up and updating have been done to the medical-surgical floor so that it’s compliant with a survey coming up in August.

    In another action taken by the directors, they passed a motion authorizing chiller and tower replacements and repairs to be made at the hospital building.

    In his report, concerning the chiller repairs that need to be made to the hospital’s air conditioning system, Johnson said, “I guess, during the ice storm, we lost both chillers on top of the school over here.”

    He said new chillers have been ordered and are coming and he believes the Federal Emergency Management Agency is going to cover the cost of them because the lost occurred during the storm when Governor Greg Abbott declared this a disaster area.

    Johnson asked the HCHD board members to consider this matter and to work with CMC executives and managers on developing a solution on how to address it. The CMC executive said he has received a $186,000 bid to make the chillers and air conditioning towers replacements and repairs to the hospital building.

    Concerning the planned chiller repairs, Crowson said members of the board’s Facilities Committee met earlier that morning (Tuesday, May 18) and Johnson attended the meeting.

    “What Tommy told us was that their licensure is in the office,” Crowson said. “And so, whatever it’s going to be done about the chillers needs to be done, or at least a plan (needs to be) in place to get it done, as he said. And, of course, the hot season is upon us.

    “And so, he says it has to be done; there’s no question about it. He said, as you noted, those things were here when the whole thing was built (around 1969) and the towers. And we did go out and look at them.”

    Bruner added to Crowson’s comments about the Facilities Committee meeting, adding, some of the towers are “rusted away” and in “horrible condition” and CMC executives want the hospital district to cover part of the costs to make the replacements and repairs.

  • Henderson edges Crockett in bi-district soccer

    IMG 1859LARRY LAMB | HCC Crockett goalie Antonio Cruz makes a diving save against Henderson in a bi-district game on Thursday.

    By Larry Lamb

    The Crockett Bulldogs capped the regular season with five straight wins but couldn’t keep their streak going against the Henderson Lions in the first round of the class 4A state soccer playoffs.

    Henderson scored two second-half goals to beat the Bulldogs 2-0 in a bi-district matchup Thursday night at Hudson High School’s Hornet Field.

    The Bulldogs and Lions battled back and forth down the field for the first 40 minutes. At halftime, the game was locked in a 0-0 stalemate.

    Crockett continued to struggle with finding an offensive spark early in the second half while Henderson finally found the back of the net at the 32:04 mark. The Lions tacked on an insurance goal with 16:36 left.

    Bulldogs coach Gary Gutierrez praised junior goalie Antonio Cruz’s performance.

    “In my opinion he won man of the match. He kept us in the game for as long as he could and he made absolute incredible saves. He’s going to be an elite goal keeper if he really wants to. Luckily I’ll have him back next year,” said Gutierrez.

    Henderson, which finished second in its district, sits at 14-8-4 overall going into the second round against Paris.

    While seeing the season end is always heartbreaking – especially for the senior trio of Alex Orozco, Pablo Ayala and Salvador Lopez – Gutierrez says the Bulldogs can be proud of their accomplishments.

    “This is the best season the boys have ever played. This is the best they’ve ever done in the playoffs. The boys have made a huge improvement from last year and prior years, and even from the beginning of this season. This is the strongest team Crockett has ever had and it’s only going to get stronger,” said Gutierrez.

    Crockett finished third out of eight teams in District 16-4A with a 10-4 record and ended the season with a 14-9 mark.

    Palestine won the district championship, Livingston came in second and Diboll finished fourth behind Crockett.

    As expected, Palestine prevailed over Carthage 2-0 in the first round Thursday. Livingston takes on Center in bi-district Friday at Hudson. Diboll, the fourth place seed, faces Kilgore.

    Crockett, a relatively young program, is marking its fourth year of UIL sanctioned competition. The Bulldogs made the playoffs as the fourth place seed their first two seasons and were poised to earn a playoff berth last season when the UIL suspended competition due to the pandemic.

    Gutierrez noted that the Bulldogs’ district losses were to Palestine and Livingston, both 4A schools.

    “We only lost to two teams in district (Palestine and Livingston). We’re blowing teams out that in previous years had blown us out such as Hudson and Madisonville. In our last five games we have scored 18 goals and have only allowed three goals,” pointed out Gutierrez.

    “This is my first year here but I’d safely assume that we have scored more goals than this team has ever scored in a single season and allowed the least amount of goals. This team has won the most amount of games and has lost the least amount of games,” said Gutierrez.

  • Houston Countians urged to take broadband survey

    Broadband Graphic PixabayCOURTESY OF PIXABAY Broadband Graphic

    By Alton Porter

    An online survey is being conducted to determine the broadband internet needs of Houston County residents.

    The survey is being put forth by Connected Nation Texas, a localized division of a national nonprofit organization dedicated to expanding access to broadband. It was launched in January and will continue into May.

    County residents are encouraged to take the broadband survey.

    Involved in the Houston County Broadband Initiative is the county’s broadband committee, which is comprised of local community leaders from various sectors with a common mission of enhancing broadband access, adoption and use throughout the county for the benefit of local residents and businesses.

    With that goal, the committee is partnering with Connected Nation Texas and its “Connected Community” program to assess the present state of broadband in the county, establish a broadband planning process and address the county’s current and future broadband needs.

    According to survey coordinators, in order to perform an assessment of Houston County’s current broadband environment, the committee members are surveying local residents, businesses and other organizations across the county.

    Responses to the surveys will help them better understand the existing resources and capabilities available to support the access, adoption and use of broadband technology in residents’ homes and businesses.

    After a structured evaluation of this assessment is completed, the committee and other survey coordinators will be in a position to develop appropriate action plans and projects to effectively improve the county’s broadband environment.

    The results of the community broadband assessment and related surveys are planned to be shared with the public this summer, followed by additional work to develop a countywide action plan to address identified areas of need.

    County residents’ participation in the appropriate broadband survey and overall support of the committee’s efforts are seen as very important in developing an accurate assessment of broadband availability and related needs in the county.

    To take the survey as a resident, business owner or designated representative of some other organization, go online to https://www.myconnectedcommunity.org/houston-county/ and select the appropriate option.

    Readers of this article are asked to share this information with peers and to encourage others to take the appropriate broadband survey.

  • Houston County commissioners oppose being silenced

    IMG 7952ALTON PORTER | HCC Houston County Judge Jim Lovell and county commissioners court members met in person and remotely via Zoom Tuesday, March 23. Above, from left to right, are Gary Lovell, Willie Kitchen, Judge Lovell, Gene Stokes and Jimmy Henderson.

    By Alton Porter

    Houston County’s commissioners, like other local government officials across the state, have taken a stand opposing being silenced by state officials.

    The county officials adopted a resolution in opposition to Texas Senate Bills 10 and 234 and Texas House Bill 749, which they say introduce efforts to silence county officials. They took the action at a Houston County Commissioners Court meeting Tuesday morning, March 23.

    “SB 10 is a bill that’s being introduced (in the Texas Senate),” said County Judge Jim Lovell in presenting the resolution to the commissioners—as are SB 234 and HB 749. “They (state lawmakers) word it as taxpayer-funded lobbying.

    “But what it really is is we can’t join an association, such as Texas Association of Counties or County Judges and Commissioners Association of Texas, if they hire on their staff a lobbyist.”

    Judge Lovell added, “Not only that. We can’t go to Austin as commissioners court or sheriff or any other elected official to (voice our positions) if a bill comes up that concerns county government and we want to go and testify before a committee or talk to our legislator and the county pay for it.

    “So, this resolution is just a resolution saying that we oppose that bill.”

    County Auditor Melissa Jeter pointed out that SB 234 and HB 749 are Senate and House bills related to SB 10.

    The bills would “take your voice away from any unfunded mandates…,” Precinct 3 Commissioner Gene Stokes said.

    “They forgot about the First Amendment, didn’t they,” added Sheriff Randy Hargrove.

    Jeter noted, the Senate’s Local Government Committee, chaired by Sen. Paul Bettencourt, is to hold a hearing on SB 10 Thursday morning, March 25. Persons who want to comment on the bill should contact the committee before the hearing.

    It is “a community censorship bill that would prohibit a city or county from spending public funds to influence the outcome of legislation,” according to an interpretation released by the Texas Municipal League (TML).

    “At the most basic level, S.B. 10 would prevent a city from hiring staff, contracting with lobbyists or other professional advocates, or joining associations like TML that engage in advocacy at the state capitol.

    “Specifically, the bill would provide: ‘The governing body of a county or municipality may not spend public money or provide compensation in any manner to directly or indirectly influence or attempt to influence the outcome of any legislation pending before the legislature.’”

    HB 749, also dubbed community censorship legislation by TML, “would: (1) prohibit a political subdivision from spending public funds to: (a) hire an individual required to register as a lobbyist for the purpose of lobbying a member of the Texas legislature; or (b) pay a nonprofit state association or organization that: (i) primarily represents political subdivisions; and (ii) hires or contracts with an individual required to register as a lobbyist.”

    In addition, TML representatives note, HB 749 would: “(2) provide that if a political subdivision engages in activity prohibited by (1), above, a taxpayer or resident of the political subdivision is entitled to injunctive relief to prevent any further prohibited activity or any further payments of public funds; and (3) provide that a taxpayer or resident who prevails in an action under (2), above, is entitled to recover reasonable attorney’s fees and costs from the political subdivision.”

    SB 234 is a companion bill to HB 749.

    In other business, the commissioners voted to accept as information the resignation of Bobby Hutcherson from the Houston County Emergency Services District No. 2 Board of Commissioners and to appoint Greg Brooks, of Belott, to replace Hutcherson on the ESD2 board. Hutcherson had served as vice president on the board.

    In another action, the commissioners approved the holding of a county event and display permit for a Houston County Welfare Board and Kalin’s Center program and the adoption of a proclamation designating April as Child Abuse Prevention Month in Houston County.

    The program, promoting awareness of child abuse, will be held on the county courthouse steps April 9, beginning at 11 a.m., and the annual display of pinwheels and related items, intended to focus attention on such abuse, will remain on the courthouse grounds throughout the month.

    The commissioners approved participation in a right-of-way/utility project on State Highway 7 at the Trinity River with the Texas department of highways, by passing a motion authorizing the signing of an affidavit, an agreement to contribute right-of-way funds and a resolution authorizing Judge Lovell to execute an agreement to contribute funds to the state for proper development and construction of the state highway system.

    They voted to pass a motion on a request to approve a $1,000 donation from an anonymous donor to the Sheriff’s Office for Drug Awareness Resistance Education (DARE) expenses.

    The commissioners approved acceptance of a donation of $9,284 in road materials from an anonymous donor for Precinct 2.

    In another action related to the Sheriff’s Office, the commissioners approved a budget amendment request from the office for a vehicle replacement not to exceed $17,000.

    They voted to approve selecting which vehicles or departments are to be included to determine costs for a possible lease program with Enterprise Fleet Management.

    A motion to grant Piney Woods Fine Arts Association $1,000 from the county’s Hotel Occupancy Tax fund to help cover expenses for a Texas Tenors Concert scheduled Saturday, April 16, at the Crockett Civic Center carried on a vote taken by the commissioners.

    A proclamation, designating April as County Government Month in Houston County and setting April 29 as the date for a county employees picnic was adopted by the commissioners.

    Similarly, the commissioners adopted a proclamation designating April as Fair Housing Month.

    A motion declaring a 2005 Precinct 2 pickup truck as surplus and authorizing advertising for the sale of the vehicle passed on a vote by the commissioners.

    They approved District Clerk Carolyn Rains’ request for $100 for a change fund.

    The county’s former office of courthouse security was designated by the commissioners as additional space for Precinct 2 Constable Kenneth “Red” Smith, and they authorized the making of necessary budget amendments related to the matter.

    A motion to approve a contract with a company to haul and deliver road materials for Precincts 1 and 3 carried on a vote of the commissioners.

    They discussed a completed renovation project at the Precinct 2 road and bridge office building, located at 601 Cedar St., half of it which is being offered by Precinct 2 Commissioner Willie Kitchen to be used for other county purposes. The commissioners voted to reimburse the Precinct 2 road and bridge budget with $24,210 from the county’s general fund for expenses incurred by the renovation project so that they can be used to fund road and bridge projects. The commissioners approved making necessary budget amendments for this matter.

    They received as information a preservation/environmental testing report on the county courthouse presented by County Clerk Terri Meadows from G&H Environmental Consulting, LLC, and approved authorizing Judge Lovell to act on presented recommendations to make repairs to the courthouse.

    The commissioners voted to authorize Judge Lovell to negotiate a possible real estate purchase.

    And renewal of an insurance policy with Texas Association of Counties for property and mobile equipment was approved by the commissioners.

  • Houston County named to ‘Save Our Seniors’ initiative

    NEWS Vaccine 031721FILE PHOTO

    By Chris Edwards

    CROCKETT – Governor Greg Abbott announced today that Houston County is one of four East Texas counties added to the statewide “Save Our Seniors” initiative.

    The initiative was announced on March 1 by Abbott to ensure that more senior citizens are vaccinated throughout the state. Houston County senior citizens can receive their free shot at the Crockett Civic Center Thursday, March 18 and Friday, March 19.

    The vaccines, which will be administered by a military team, will be available from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m. each of the two days. According to the Houston County Office of Emergency Management and Fire Marshal, the availability in the county of the vaccine as part of the initiative is the most recent plan to protect the county’s citizens. Five hundred doses of the Moderna vaccine will be available at the vaccination center.

    Anyone who is age 50 or older, along with members of the same household (21 and older) and/or caregivers is eligible for the vaccines on these dates. The availability has also been opened to employees of the education field.

    Other counties in the region that were added to this wave of the initiative are Trinity, Shelby and Hopkins. This is the third week, thus far, and there were previously 26 and 34 counties participating, respectively, each of the other two weeks. This week, in total, there are 28 Texas counties named to the initiative by the Texas Division of Emergency (TDEM), the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) and the Texas Military Department (TMD.)

    “The continued expansion of our ‘Save Our Seniors’ initiative is protecting elderly Texans from COVID-19 and ramping up our vaccination efforts across the state,” Abbott said.

    For those who have questions regarding the vaccine or might need to schedule a home visit for a home-bound individual, they can call 936-544-7175, and registration is also available on-site. The Civic Center is located at 1100 Edmiston Drive in Crockett.

  • Judge Black issues peace bond warrants for Biden, Fauci

    ClydeBlack1FILE PHOTO Houston County Precinct 1 Justice of the Peace Clyde Black has issued peace bond warrants commanding that President Joe Biden and medical adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci be brought before him.

    By Alton Porter

    Houston County’s Precinct 1 justice of the peace has issued peace bond warrants commanding that President Joe Biden and his chief medical adviser, Dr. Anthony Fauci be brought before him to answer to complaints brought by county residents.

    The warrants were issued Wednesday by JP Peace Clyde Black to “the sheriff or any constable of Houston County.”

    “You are commanded to take the body of Joseph Biden, Defendant,” states the warrant issued for the president, “and bring Defendant forthwith before me at the Justice of the Peace Office, in Houston County, Texas, then and there to answer a lawful complaint that Defendant has threatened and is about to commit against the person of John Doe-Multiple Citizens….”

    The warrant states Biden is about to commit offenses by “mandating allowed entry of illegal criminal immigrants; threatening illegal confiscation of personal firearms; endangering lives with mask mandates; ordering mandatory vaccinations; creating panic and fear with false pandemic numbers; creating danger with gender regulations in schools, against the laws of the State of Texas.”

    Biden was due in Texas today to see damage caused by the recent disastrous winter storms, visit food banks and to address other issues.

    The warrant for Fauci claims he has endangered lives—creating public fear and panic—and has engaged in policies denying medicine needed to fight disease and more.

    “In Texas, according to Chapter 7 of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure, the authority for peace bonds is given to the JP (justice of the peace) in all Texas counties to try to ensure the peace by protecting threatened people or people who feel threatened from violence or further violence or harm to them or their family or property,” Black told the Courier in explaining why he issued the warrants. “That’s the nature (of the warrants). I was just doing my job.”

    He added that we issued the warrants after “people came to me” expressing concerns about their safety and other matters. Those people “are looking for help and they’re concerned about everything from their personal health to the health of their family and their rights under the Constitution.”

    “And as judge,” Black said, “part of my duty and obligation to the people who elected me is to enforce the laws of the state of Texas. When people come to me with a complaint, if it’s something in my jurisdiction, I’m kind of obligated to do that. I was just doing my job that my constituents elected me to do and that I’m sworn in obligation to the Constitution.”

    Asked what he expects to happen next, now that the warrants have been issued, Black said, “I’ve been issuing warrants and giving them to law enforcement for 15 years now. I have the same expectation I do of a game warrant that I issued. I expect law enforcement to act on it.

    “When I issue a warrant, I take it to local law enforcement. After that, I have no further action with it until the warrant is served. I don’t know how the law enforcement agencies works. I’m not in law enforcement; I’m a judge.”