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Music and fun at Camp Street

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Camp Street Jam

A lively old-time music jam led by the Wright Family took place at Camp Street Café on Saturday night. Many performers joined in the fun, and several took to the stage after the jam during an open-mic portion of the night’s festivities. Camp Street has an ace lineup of shows scheduled for the coming months, including Michael Reno Harrell on Feb. 24; Jeff Black on March 18 and legendary songwriter Buddy Mondlock on April 7.  Photo by Mollie La Salle | PCPC

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Ja’Gared Davis Day proclaimed in Crockett

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Crockett Mayor Dr. Ianthia Fisher and Ja’Gared Davis. Photo by Marsha CookCrockett Mayor Dr. Ianthia Fisher and Ja’Gared Davis. Photo by Marsha Cook

By Jan White
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CROCKETT – Crockett Mayor Dr. Ianthia Fisher proclaimed Saturday, Jan. 21 as Ja’Gared Davis Day in honor of the two-time Grey Cup winner who plays for the Canadian football team, Toronto Argonauts.

Davis, a native of Crockett, began his football career while in high school, nothing 228 tackles over his last two seasons earning him all-state honors as a senior and garnered him a selection as the District 20-3A Defensive co-MVP. While attending Southern Methodist University (SMU), he received recognition as First-team Conference USA, and was selected to CollegeFootballNews.com All-American honorable mention during his sophomore season. Prior to his junior year, Davis was chosen for the 2011 Rotary Lombardi Award Official Watch List and was selected to the second-team All-C-USA and FWAA National Defensive Player Of The Week in his junior year. He was named to the second-team All-Texas by Dave Campbell’s Texas Football during his senior year and named to the First-team All-C-USA following his senior season. His college record boasted 301 tackles, twenty sacks, four interceptions, twenty pass deflections, and six forced fumbles.

After his tenure at SMU, Davis began his professional career with the Houston Texans and subsequently signed with the New England Patriots, Kansas City Chiefs, and Washington Redskins before transitioning to Canadian football, where he played for the Calgary Stampeders, Hamilton Tiger-Cats and his current team, the Toronto Argonauts. The gridiron football defensive end won his first Grey Cup while he was with the Calgary Stampeders and won his second Grey Cup on Nov. 20, 2022.

Not only has Davis made a name for himself in football, but he is also a successful entrepreneur with his Champ 56 athletic footwear line and is the founder and mentor at his football training camp, “Camp Champ.”

Davis was honored for his accomplishments and his support for the city of Crockett at an event held at the Civic Center on Jan. 21. Family and friends gathered to speak on Davis’ achievements. The ceremony began with a welcome and opening prayer by Jessica James. George Davis, Ja’Gared’s cousin, introduced the guest of honor. “I’ve watched my cousin live his dream and make so many sacrifices, put in so much work, so many countless hours. He was born and raised in Crockett, Texas. And it’s one of the hardest places in the world to make it out of and be successful. This town has contributed to Ja’Gared’s success, and he represents where he’s from. For him to get something as special as this moment, you can’t ask for anything bigger than that.” After reading Ja’Gared’s bio, the microphone was handed to Floyd Houston, Davis’ uncle, Megan Davis, his sister, Gayla Houston, Davis’ mother, and Wayne Davis, his father, who shared their stories and reminiscings about Davis, sometimes with laughter, sometimes with tears.

Following the testimonials, Fisher read the proclamation announcing Jan. 21 as Ja’Gared Davis Day. The ceremony ended with Davis himself addressing the crowd, thanking everyone for their influence in his life. “I’ll always be grateful to you all.”

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Council selects ARPA fund projects

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City Crockett LogoBy Jan White
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CROCKETT – During their meeting on Monday, Jan. 23, the Crockett city council cherry-picked projects they felt would be most helpful to the community to exhaust the remainder of the city’s American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds.

In a previous council meeting, City Administrator John Angerstein had asked the members to suggest ways to spend ARPA funds for city improvements. Several expenditures were already funded, such as the police ticket writer laptops and printers, the animal shelter, the construction of an EDA water line, a street motor grader, and a double drum vibratory 3-5 ton roller. But the city had some unused monies that needed to be designated for local projects.    

Most of the projects recommended and chosen by the city staff and council aimed to improve city facilities and police and fire department needs. Among the projects selected were repairs to the roof and fascia/gutters for the city hall, improvements to the pavilion at the city park, and improvements to IT Williams Park. After hearing from Police Chief Clayton Smith, the council voted to use $192k to purchase three new vehicles for the police department and approved four sets of bunker gear, bay heaters, and a new concrete bay floor for the fire department. The council also voted to fund a downtown strategic plan and study firm to help assess and plan projects for the downtown area and the city. While new “Welcome to Crockett” signage was discussed,

members asked Angerstein to research designs and cost and present it to the council in a subsequent meeting. Several items that were not immediately approved will also be addressed in a future council session.

The council also held three open hearings on three requests: a specific use permit from Rutilio Lopez Garcia for a mobile home to be located at 1020 Monroe Street, a specific use permit from Case Craycraft to allow District C-3 Vertical mixed commercial and residential use, with residential use more than two units above the first floor, of the building located at 101 S. Fourth Street, and a request for a specific use permit from Elbert Johnson for a private all sports lounge and night lounge to be located at 917 S. Fourth. After the public hearing portion of the meeting concluded, the council voted for all three specific use permits to be approved.

The final agenda item was to approve the payment of invoices for the Crockett Economic and Industrial Development Corporation.

At the Jan. 9 special session, councilman and Mayor Pro Tem Mike Marsh had included in his motion that, “During this investigation, no EDC staff or board members will sign checks or use credit cards. The mayor and the mayor pro tem will be added as signers to the EDC checking account to pay all existing and approved debts or commitments after they are presented to the city council for approval.”

Angerstein said that the bills and invoices due had been presented to the council in their agenda package prior to the meeting. He also said that he had spoken to the EDC third-party bookkeeper. “We have new checks. Council is signers on the checks. Once you approve it, that will be taken down there and keep the bills current.” The motion to approve the invoices passed.

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HCHD president reassures lease was renewed

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Houston County Hospital District LogoBy Jan White
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CROCKETT – It was standing room only on Tuesday, Jan. 17, in the Crockett Medical Center cafeteria, as hospital workers and staff joined with concerned community members to find out if there was any word as to whether Dr. Kelly Tjelmeland would continue operations at the hospital.

The Houston County Hospital District (HCHD) board had speculated over the past few months whether or not Tjelmeland would try to renegotiate the terms of his lease before the automatic five-year renewal, which was to occur on Jan. 15.

As the board prepared to adjourn, Crowson read from a prepared speech. “I am totally aware that there has been a lot of speculation in the community and the county on the status of the lease that we now have with the medical center. As we stated in the meeting last July, this lease was renewed by the tenant for an additional five years. And the district will continue to honor its obligations under the agreement that it has with Crockett Medical Center. The board is focused on and remains committed to maintain high quality health care in the community.”

During the open comment portion of the meeting, Superintendent John Emerich from Crockett ISD and Chris Cravens, a teacher in charge of the clinical program at Latexo High School, spoke to the board about the importance of the hospital’s role in the community and with the local education system. Former HCHD president Bob Grier, a frequent open forum speaker at the meetings, also voiced his concern, urging the current board members to ‘negotiate in good faith” to keep the hospital here.

After hearing the usual financial, hospital and ambulance reports, spokesperson Rhonda Brown reported on the finance committee meeting. Brown said that they had repair bills for work that had been done by Hargrove Neel on the HVAC unit and upcoming repairs for the hospital’s operating room in the surgical room. The invoice from Hargrove Neel totaled a little over $26k and was for work completed back in August, although it was not received by the HCHD accountant, Dick Murchison, until around Dec. 23.

The request was for the hospital district to pay half of the amount, which would be around $13.5k. Although the district isn’t obligated to pay a portion of the repairs, because the work was done locally by a well-respected vendor and in the interest of good faith, as noted by President Barbara Crowson, the board voted to pay half of the bill.

The repair bid that was submitted by Johnson Controls in Longview was for the replacement of the fan assembly and two gas valves for the operating room. The request is for the district to pay $8,780. Although it was brought to question as to whether it was the district’s responsibility to pay for the repairs, Crowson said “it is urgent to get it done in order for us to have surgeries going forward. We want our hospital, and we want it to remain here and will help in any way we can with available funds.”

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Lowery named to Southern New Hampshire University President’s list

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HonorRoll Stock

MANCHESTER, NH – James Lowery of Crockett (75835) has been named to Southern New Hampshire University’s Fall 2022 President’s List. The fall terms run from September to December.

Full-time undergraduate students who have earned a minimum grade-point average of 3.7 and above for the reporting term are named to the President’s List. Full-time status is achieved by earning 12 credits over each 16-week term or paired eight-week terms grouped in fall, winter/spring and summer.

Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU) is a private, nonprofit institution with a 90-year history of educating traditional-aged students and working adults.

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