Log in

Top Stories        News         Sports

Houston County News 2

ESD2 members elect new, continuing leaders

Write a comment
Star InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar Inactive

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.

  • Hits: 1871

Commissioners receive judge’s disaster declaration

Write a comment
Star InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar Inactive

IMG 7549ALTON PORTER | HCC Houston County Judge Jim Lovell issued a Declaration of Local Disaster for the county in response to the recent severe winter storms that wreaked havoc on the county and the county’s commissioners voted to receive the declaration as information at a meeting held in person and via the Zoom video communications app Thursday morning.

By Alton Porter

Houston County was declared a disaster area by the county judge as a result of the major winter storms that wreaked havoc throughout the county a couple of weeks ago and the declaration was received by county commissioners.

Saturday, Feb. 20, Judge Jim Lovell issued a seven-day Declaration of Local Disaster for the county. And five days later, at a meeting of the commissioners court, following explanations by Lovell and county Emergency Management Coordinator Heath Murff, the commissioners voted to pass a motion to receive as information the declaration.

The declaration stated that “the County of Houston, on the 14 day of February, AD 2021 suffered widespread or severe damage, injury, or loss of life, with massive amounts of debris creating a public health threat (or there is imminent threat of same), resulting from the arrival of a major winter storm that has impacted Houston County and caused freezing temperatures, snow and ice accumulations.”

It continued, the storm “essentially prevented access and safe passage on many roadways and caused long term electrical power and utility outages and major infrastructure and property damage thus creating a public safety hazard.”

Because the county judge determined that extraordinary measures must be taken to alleviate the suffering of people and to protect or rehabilitate property, he declared the state of disaster.

The declaration noted that the county’s emergency management plan was implemented, and “Whereas Section 418.108 of the Texas Disaster Act of 1975, as amended, Vernon’s Texas Codes Annotated, Government Code Chapter 418, provides that the state of disaster shall continue for a period of not more than seven days of the date hereof, unless the same is continued by consent of the Commissioner’s Court of the County of Houston, Texas.”

In other business, the commissioners scheduled a public hearing for April 13, “regarding the Tax Abatement Agreement with Houston County and Lincoln Lumber Crockett, LLC, to modify or terminate the agreement and to consider entering a Tax Abatement Agreement with the City of Crockett and Lincoln Lumber Crockett, LLC.”

The commissioners and Crockett city councilmembers approved a tax abatement agreement with Lincoln Lumber several weeks ago, and the Crockett officials later approved a related agreement that had been amended. County officials are now considering whether to terminate their original agreement and approve the amended one that was adopted by the city.

“What happened is Houston County and Lincoln Lumber have a tax abatement agreement…,” said County Attorney Daphne Session. “That was approved in November of 2020 based on the application for a tax abatement.

“The city entered or approved a tax abatement agreement in November of 2020 also with Lincoln Lumber. Then, Lincoln Lumber made some acquisitions and made some new purchases of land in the area.”

The city did a new tax abatement agreement—modified the old one based on the acquisitions and new purchases—and approved it in January, Session said. “And the city would like the county to be included in their tax abatement because their tax abatement they approved is for the city of Crockett, for Houston County and Lincoln Lumber, which was not done here. We have our own agreement with Lincoln Lumber. They would like for the county to join their tax abatement agreement and have just one tax abatement agreement for all three.”

The public hearing had to be set to modify or terminate the county’s current tax abatement agreement with Lincoln Lumber, Session said, adding, the city’s agreement and county’s agreement are very similar, with the exception of the addition of the acquisition of the new land by Lincoln Lumber on the city’s agreement.

Lincoln Lumber is building a high-tech sawmill in the 200 block of West Austin Street and on two adjoining properties.

In another action, the commissioners approved a new contract with Piney Woods Sanitation for solid waste collection service in unincorporated areas of the county.

They voted to approve motions appointing commissioners Jimmy Henderson, Gene Stokes and Willie Kitchen to negotiate for right of way and construction/temporary easements in their precincts as necessary for the Texas Department of Transportation bridge improvement project.

Henderson is to negotiate for easements on County Roads (CR) 1060 and 1050 for the Hickory Creek tributary, Stokes for easements on CR 3585 for the Wright Creek tributary and Kitchen for easements plus relocation of utilities on CR 2215, CR 2230 and CR 2120 for Little Elkhart Creek and Big Elkhart Creek tributaries.

The commissioners received as information racial profiling reports from county law enforcement agencies and an audit report for the fiscal year ending 2020 for county Emergency Services District No. 2.

They approved an order declaring an exemption from bidding necessary to preserve and protect the public health and safety of county residents as authorized under Local Government Code 262.024(a)(2).

The commissioners voted to approve acceptance of a $2,000 donation from the city of Kennard for Precinct 4 and to authorize the making of necessary budget amendments.

And the commissioners heard annual summary interpretation presentations of 2020 AgriLife Extension Service education programs given by Jo Smith and Tasha Brent, extension agents of the county’s Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, and Corey J. Hicks, of the Prairie View A&M University Cooperative Extension Program.

During her presentation, Smith noted that the Houston County Fair and Youth Livestock Show is still one for late March and early April.

  • Hits: 1402

Judge Black issues peace bond warrants for Biden, Fauci

23 Comments
Star InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar Inactive

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.”

  • Hits: 39619

RELIVING THE GLORY

Write a comment
Star InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar Inactive

IMG 9919LARRY LAMB | HCC Former Crockett Bulldogs taking on the 2021 team Saturday, Feb. 6 were (front l-r) Kendall Rhodes, Joseph Smoldas, Dustin Wyble, Antwaain Boston and Garrett Reeves; (back l-r) Ryan Young, Jake Young, Larren Reeves, Drew Corry, Rascal Yates and coach Joe Smoldas. Not pictured is Tyrone Colter.

Crockett baseball alumni shine again

By Larry Lamb

Eleven former Crockett High School baseball players dusted off their gloves, grabbed a tube of sports cream and returned to the diamond for the annual alumni match-up against the 2021 Bulldogs Saturday, Feb. 6.

The “Bulldogs vs. the Old Dogs” battle has become a tradition in Crockett along with a home run derby in which the old-timers have a chance to show off their power hitting prowess.

Kendall Rhodes and Tyrone “Six” Colter, both members of Crockett’s 1996 state championship team, headlined the alumni squad’s roster. Rhodes and Colter played for legendary coach Tommy Parker, who earned championship rings in 1982 and 1996 during his stint at Crockett.

Rounding out the Old Dogs roster were 2001 graduate Antwaain Boston, Joseph Smoldas, Dustin Wyble, Garret Reeves, Ryan Young, Jake Young, Larren Reeves, Drew Corry and Rascal Yates. Joe Smoldas coached the Old Dogs.

Continuing their domination of the series, the Old Dogs won this year’s battle 8-5.

Bulldog baseball coach Cole Pemberton told the victorious alumni, “Nothing but love and respect for you guys. Today was about honoring y’all. Old guys still got it.”

Pemberton, a CHS graduate who took the reins as head coach this season, inherited a baseball program that has struggled in recent years.

Addressing the alumni crew before the game, Pemberton said, “You guys started this tradition of greatness in Crockett and it’s something we don’t take lightly. I preach every day to my guys about the greatness Crockett baseball has produced.

“I’m beyond proud to be the head coach here in Crockett and an alumni from here myself. To the class of ‘82 and ‘96, thank you for showing us what excellence is all about. We hope one day to get the program headed in that direction that you guys showed us,” Pemberton concluded.

  • Hits: 1426

Crockett Chamber $100 weekly drawing (VIDEO)

Write a comment
Star InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar Inactive

IMG 8870TONI BROWNING | HCC The Crockett Area Chamber Executive Director Liza Clark, left, and Ashley Keenan, a chamber ambassador and Houston County Courier marketing director, conducted the drawing for the fourth week’s raffle Monday, Feb. 1, inside the office of the Courier, one of the sponsors of the event.

By Alton Porter and Toni Browning

The Crockett Area Chamber of Commerce is sponsoring a 10-week series of free giveaway drawings, called “10 in 2021”, through which lucky visitors to chamber-member businesses can win $100 each week.

Chamber Executive Director Liza Clark visited the Houston County Courier office to draw the winning name on Feb. 1. Ashley Keenan, a chamber ambassador and Houston County Courier marketing director, assisted Clark by drawing the winner’s name.

Linnea Robison, a visitor to Betty Boop’s restaurant, was the $100 winner of the fourth week’s drawing. Robison will receive $100 in cash and the restaurant will receive a free E-Blast from the Chamber. The E-Blast is sent out to all chamber businesses by email and contains information that is important to the winning company.

Each Monday at 10 a.m., a winner’s name will be drawn at a sponsoring business. A live video is streamed on the Chamber’s Facebook page at that time.

Sponsoring the drawings are Smitty’s BBQ, Knox Furniture, Bella’s Gifts and the Houston County Courier.

For information on how you can participate in the free raffles, contact Clark by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or by phone at 936-544-2359.

  • Hits: 1509