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Commissioners receive judge’s disaster declaration

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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.

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Judge Black issues peace bond warrants for Biden, Fauci

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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.”

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RELIVING THE GLORY

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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.

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Crockett Chamber $100 weekly drawing (VIDEO)

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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.

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Christmas angels in Kennard (video)

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IMG 8447TONI BROWNING | HCC The anticipation was almost unbearable as the crowd waited for the Kennard Volunteer Fire Department parade to appear down the main street on Saturday, Dec. 5. Lights in the distance could be seen flashing, sirens could be heard and children eagerly asked parents how much longer they had to wait. The parade, when it appeared, did not disappoint anyone.

By Toni Browning

The feel-good Christmas movies are already available on your television, cooler weather is here, hot chocolate is being enjoyed, Thanksgiving has passed, children and teachers are looking forward to holiday breaks and the friendly town of Kennard has recently enjoyed their annual Christmas celebration! Are you feeling warm and cozy yet?

Kennard residents have long been huge supporters of Christmas cheer, fun and worship. This year, the town celebrated the Christmas season at the Crossing Over the Cochino’s 33rd annual Christmas and Trade Days event. The “Angels over the Pines” themed event was held Saturday, Dec. 5.

The fun started with a house decorating contest named, The Angel’s Spirit. Everyone in Kennard was encouraged to decorate their homes to be judged.

Video of the Kennard Tree Lighting

The Christmas tree, placed near the city sign, was festively decorated by school children to symbolize the hope, love and true meaning of Christmas – the birth of Jesus Christ. Community members also helped decorate the tree with homemade or store-bought pinecones and angels. Coming together at the annual tree lighting helps residents show and feel community support.

Cool clear skies made the day of the festival perfect as vendors filled the sides of the road with their wares and food. Each year items such as woodwork, crafts, gifts, garage sale items and food are sold. Tummy warming gumbo was on offer by the Tabernacle of Praise Church.

The 4th Annual Fire in the Hole Chili Cook-off fund raiser benefiting the Kennard Volunteer Fire Department (KVFD) invited local chili cookers to showcase their best recipe in the hopes of winning over the tasting judges.

As if this all-day fun were not enough to get you in the spirit, the KVFD sponsored a huge lighted parade that began at 6 p.m. The parade is touted to be the largest in Houston County!

Festival goers enjoyed floats, vehicles, wagons, horses, motorcycles, bicycles, 4-wheelers, police cars and many fire trucks from around the county.

Christmas is a time for children. Some children’s families may not be as fortunate as others. Several community members collected toys that will be given to local children. New, unwrapped toys were dropped off at Fellowship Hall (formerly Country Church Café), Curry’s Grocery and the Citizens National Bank in Kennard.

Another donation opportunity featured a Husqvarna Z254F zero turn mower. The funds from the tickets sold will help host the event in 2021.

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