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Houston County News - Breakout

Event to raise awareness of human trafficking

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familycrisisceenterCROCKETT – Working to end human trafficking is a year-round effort, but January is a unique opportunity to raise awareness and take action. Every year, the president proclaims January as National Human Trafficking Awareness Month, a time dedicated to shedding light on this devastating crime. 

The Family Crisis Center of East Texas is educating the Houston County community by hosting an awareness event Thursday, Jan. 20 at 10 a.m. at the Pioneer Bank Community Room, located at 415 Goliad Ave., in Crockett. Mayor Ianthia Fisher will read a proclamation letter. Representatives from the Houston County Sheriff’s Department also are on the agenda to speak. The event is free and open to the public, and lunch will be provided. 

“Human Trafficking Awareness Month calls attention to the fact that human trafficking is an epidemic hidden in plain sight in this community and all communities across the country,” said Maria Villarreal, Sexual Assault/Human Trafficking Specialist at the Family Crisis Center of East Texas. “After drug dealing, trafficking of humans is tied with arms dealing as the second largest criminal industry in the world, and is the fastest growing. Raising public awareness is an important element in the fight against human trafficking.”

The theme, “End Human Trafficking,” focuses on the recognition and prevention of human trafficking, which is often described as a hidden crime. The goals of the awareness campaign are to raise public awareness about the nature of human trafficking, how and where it occurs locally, and how to prevent and stop it; help identify victims and survivors and promote access to services, and decrease demand through awareness.

Human trafficking is defined as a crime that involves exploiting a person for labor, services or commercial sex, according to The United States Department of Justice. Victims are exploited through a third party for money or gain by force, fraud or coercion.

Labor trafficking is defined by Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 (TVPA) as the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for labor or services through the use of force, fraud, or coercion for the purpose of subjection to involuntary servitude, peonage, debt bondage, or slavery. One of the most common areas of labor trafficking is in agriculture, and it encompasses both legal and undocumented workers.

Sex trafficking is the most widely publicized form of human trafficking. The TVPA defines sex trafficking for adults as the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, obtaining, patronizing, or soliciting of a person for the purposes of a commercial sex act induced by force, fraud, or coercion. Any person under 18 years of age induced to perform sex acts is a victim of sex trafficking. Hotels/motels, truck stops, massage parlors and online sites are common places for sex trafficking.

“Traffickers lure and ensnare people into forced labor and sex by manipulating and exploiting their vulnerabilities. They prey on people who are hoping for a better life, lack employment opportunities, have an unstable home life, or have a history of sexual or physical abuse,” said Villareal. “They often seek out children online who appear vulnerable, depressed, seem emotionally isolated from family and friends, have low-esteem or appear to have a lot of unsupervised time.” 

Victims of human trafficking leave many clues or signs of distress. “Changed behavior, reduced or eliminated communication, secretive of whereabouts, sudden change of intimate relationship, isolation from family, unexplained amounts of money, sober then suddenly becomes addicted to drugs, constantly moving living spaces or towns, bruises or burns, not making eye contact, unable to speak for themselves, no control over personal documents, and/or chronically running away are all signs of human trafficking,” said Villarreal.

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Latexo ISD receives boost to its Health Science program

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EDITOR’S NOTE: The spelling of the device described in this story is correct. “Manikin” refers to a human body simulator used in healthcare demonstrations. It is not to be confused with “mannequins” that are used to model clothing.

Latexc ISD logoFrom Courier Staff

LATEXO – Latexo ISD recently received a new addition to its Health Science program: a $20K Laerdal patient simulator manikin. 

According to Health Science Teacher Krystal Patterson, the manakin provides an opportunity for students to practice interaction with a patient in a clinical setting.

 The manikin will be primarily utilized by the Practicum/Clinical and Health Science Theory classes, but it will also be available to other LISD medical classes. 

Students can check pulse rates, heartbeats, and blood pressure using the manikin. They can listen to the lungs, heart, and abdomen. Students will be taught how to take basic vital signs, which can be monitored on a computer screen, showing EKG rhythms and possible abnormalities. They will also learn how to identify emergency situations and provide life-saving assistance for someone in cardiac arrest. 

The manikin is interactive and can be programmed to exhibit “real-life” reactions. As students work their way through different “patient” scenarios, the manikin can speak or respond by crying, coughing, wailing, groaning, wheezing, or even going into respiratory distress. Laerdal manikins provide an excellent opportunity to build a solid foundation in the medical field for high school students.

Julie Redmon of Laerdal Medical spent two days at LISD training on the use of the manikin. 

“As they progress through the programs Latexo offers, students can practice skills to obtain a certification and begin working after graduation. I travel around the country teaching classes and see many simulation centers,” Redmon said. 

She added that Latexo ISD is “committed to providing a world-class opportunity for its students. It shows in the simulation center that they are developing. They are keeping up with the same standards as much larger schools. It was a pleasure to work with people who are so committed to their students and school.”

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Houston County residents among SHSU grads

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Graduates Graphic

HUNTSVILLE – Sam Houston State University announced its list of graduates who received degrees at the conclusion of the fall 2021 semester.

Several Houston County residents were among the graduates of this class. They include:

From Crockett – Leyth Jaber, Bachelor of Science, Criminal Justice; Emma Johnston, Bachelor of Science in Nursing, Nursing; Irene Ortiz, Master of Science, Criminal Justice; William Revels, Bachelor of Science, Criminal Justice, Cum Laude; Katrina Stephen, Bachelor of Science, Biomedical Sciences and Jonathon Wolf, Bachelor of Science, Health Care Administration.

From Grapeland – Taylar Mullen, Bachelor of Science, Health Care Administration

From Kennard –  Daniel Cook, Bachelor of Business Admin, Banking & Financial Inst and Finance

From Lovelady – James Baker, Bachelor of Science, Biology; Tatyana Bryan, Bachelor of Science, Victim Studies

 Jamie Gross, Bachelor of Science, Education, Cum Laude and Rodjenea Strickland, Bachelor of Science, Criminal Justice.

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Kennard ISD honors retiring employee

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Kennard ISD HonorsBy Jan White
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KENNARD – A reception will be held at the Kennard ISD Cafeteria on Sunday, Jan. 9, from 2 -4 p.m., to honor Carolyn Harrison for her 43 years of service to the Kennard School District. 

Harrison retired as Administrative Assistant to Superintendent Lindsey Malinda on December 17, 2021, but her legacy at the Kennard School District started many years ago.

Carolyn Morgan was born in Houston on October 6, 1947, the only child of D.L. and Louise Morgan. When Carolyn was about a year old, the Morgans moved to the tiny community of Center Hill. She attended school in Kennard from first through twelfth grade, where, in 1966, she graduated as Valedictorian of her class. Carolyn continued her education at Massey Business College in Houston, aftward finding employment with Fenley & Fenley Law Firm in Lufkin, and later with Crockett attorneys Joe Griffith, J. B. Sallas and Gus Merriwether. 

On June 26, 1971, Carolyn married Jerry Harrison. Their first child, Jennifer, was born in October 1973, followed by Jeffrey in May 1976.  In 1979, Carolyn saw a job posted in the newspaper for the tax collector position at Kennard ISD. She applied for and accepted the job working with Roy English as a Tax Collector Clerk at Kennard ISD. The move fulfilled Carolyn’s desire to have the same time off as her children and also be closer to home. When Mrs. Jim Barclay retired as administrative assistant to the Superintendent, Carolyn stepped in to fill the position, which she’s maintained ever since. 

As the administrative assistant, Carolyn wore many hats – she was board secretary, produced vital reports, agendas, minutes, was overseer of Trustee elections, transportation reports, cafeteria reports, and personnel records. But most people will remember Carolyn as the face of the Administration office. Her many years of service and in-depth knowledge of policies and procedures provided continuity and made her the go-to person for answers on numerous topics. Always friendly, cheerfully greeting visitors, and helping direct them to where they needed to go, Carolyn is well known and loved by many.

Amy Gladden, a long-time friend, and colleague tells the story of Carolyn and her typewriter. “Mrs. Harrison was the last person in Kennard ISD to use an electric typewriter. She insisted on having one long after everyone else had transitioned to computers and printers. One of the hardest parts about leaving her job was that she would have to give up her treasured electric typewriter. She’d made up her mind to ask if she could have it, but the district beat her to the punch, gifting the typewriter to her upon her retirement. Now not only has Kennard ISD lost their beloved Mrs. Harrison, but they’ve also lost their last typewriter!” 

Family has always been an integral part of Carolyn’s life. Not only is she grandmother to Lauren Cyr and Clay Cyr, but she is the proud great-grandmother to the newest addition to the family. Lauren’s adorable daughter. Since her retirement, Carolyn has been able to spend more time with Rhylynn, who was born in July of 2021.

We at the Courier, along with family and friends, would like to offer our congratulations to Mrs. Carolyn Harrison on her retirement. We wish her the all best as she moves forward to enjoy this new chapter of her life.

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Community celebrates MLK Day

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MLK DayBy Jan White
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CROCKETT – On Monday, Jan. 17, citizens of Houston County will gather to honor Martin Luther King Jr. Day with a parade around the courthouse and a celebration at Davy Crockett Park. 

“Unity in the Community” is the theme for what organizers hope will become an annual tradition. The parade will begin at First Baptist Church and make its way around the square to eventually conclude at Davy Crockett Park.   

Colonel Cedric G. Hill will serve as the parade’s grand marshal. A graduate of Prairie View A&M, Colonel Hill has served in the military since his commission from Prairie View in 1992. A highly decorated officer, Colonel Hill also has a Master’s Degree in Sociology and in Counseling & Guidance from Prairie View and a Master’s from the University of Houston Graduate School Of Social Work. While at the University of Houston, he was nominated by his peers and was awarded the Martin Luther King Social Justice Award. Colonel Hill, his wife Dionne, and two children, Tevin and Cedric Hill Jr., reside in Houston. 

High school bands, businesses, civic organizations, 4-H Clubs, churches, car clubs, and trail ride clubs are encouraged to participate in the parade. Applicants must pre-register before Jan. 13. The parade lineup will start at 8 a.m., with the procession beginning at 10 a.m.

Vendors are invited to set up tables and booths at Davy Crockett Park. For more information regarding the festivities, please call or text KJ at 936-300-2477.

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