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Crockett holds first Downtown Christmas celebration

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Children’s Choir  Photos courtesy of Downtown Crockett AssociationChildren’s Choir Photos courtesy of Downtown Crockett Association

By Jan White
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CROCKETT – “The Light of Christmas” was the theme for Crockett’s first community Christmas celebration held in conjunction with the Downtown Crockett Association and the Houston County Ministerial Association.

The event occurred on Wednesday, Nov. 16, on the steps of the Houston County Courthouse in Crockett. The crowd gathered on the square to listen to Christmas songs, the Community Bell Choir, and the reading of the biblical Christmas story from community pastors.

Suzan Knox opened the ceremony by welcoming attendees and thanking those who helped make the event possible, followed by Reverend Charlana Kelly, who explained the purpose of the celebration, and the Children’s Choir, which sang, “Go Tell It on the Mountains.” After an opening prayer by Pastor Vance Drum, the ceremony continued, with portions of the Christmas story read by Pastors Johnie Wood, Shane Sibley, Ron Forehand, Lawyer Jolly, Wade Harman, Tim Allen, and Reginald Marshall. Interspersed between the readings were Christmas tunes played by the Bell Choir and congregational singing of beloved Christmas songs.

At the conclusion of the ceremony, Mayor Dr. Ianthia Fisher gave the benediction, and the congregation joined in to sing “Go Tell It on the Mountain.”

A special thanks was extended to KIVY radio and Badders Law Firm for helping make the event possible.

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Hospital Board discusses loan amendment

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Houston County Hospital District LogoBy Jan White
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CROCKETT – At the Houston County Hospital District board meeting on Nov. 15, members hesitated to move on the agenda item regarding an amendment to the loan agreement with Prosperity Bank.

After taking approving minutes and hearing the financial report presented by Dick Murchison, the board moved on to the agenda item regarding an amendment to the loan with Prosperity Bank. Although the board approved to the amendment to the loan, a question was raised regarding the 7th Amendment.

The amendment in question concerned the payment of the lender’s cost and lender’s counsel fees. The fee is normally $2,500 to $2,700. Since the board intends to pay the loan off at the beginning of next year, issues were raised about whether or not the bank could do away with those fees.

Brandon Bridges, president of Prosperity Bank, was unsure if anything could be done to reduce or waive the fees. Board member Dina Pipes stated that she spoke to Bridges and said that after a discussion, he did reduce the payment to $2,000 instead of $2,500.

President Barbara Crowson reminded the board of an email they had received back in September that “the final processing fee will be applied at closing. It is usually about 1% of the principal balance. And the principal balance is $500k, so one percent of that amount.” In the email, Bridges stated that “It is usually about one percent, and I usually get it reduced for the hospital district.” Crowson continued, “And he let us know that the attorney may charge a document preparation fee, which we would have to pay.” Crowson went on to state that in the email, Bridges said to plan for about a $2,500 payment in all.

When the time came to take action on the 7th Amendment, board members were reluctant to make a motion to approve. Crowson asked Murchison what it would mean if the board refused to approve the amendment. “You’re going to go into default,” said Murchison.

Eventually, a motion was made to approve the 7th amendment. Rhonda Brown abstained from voting, Pam Ainsworth, Carol Dawson, John Stovall, Debbie Kelly and Crowson voted to approve, Harvey Bruner voted no, and Dina Pipes voted no.

After the vote, Pipes stated, “Be sure and put it in the minutes that I’m not voting against paying Prosperity, I’m voting against having to pay an extra fee for sixty days when all they have to do is change a couple of dates and a couple of amounts, and that’s it. For $2,000, that’s pretty expensive.”

Before the meeting adjourned, the board agreed to change the date of its next meeting from Dec. 20 to Dec. 13.

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It’s not too late to prep your lawn for spring

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112822 preparing lawn for spring

By Jolene Renfro

In Greek mythology, Fall began when the underworld god, Hades, saw the fair Persephone, beloved daughter of Demeter, the goddess of nature and the harvest. Hades fell in love with Persephone and wanted her to be the queen of the underworld, so like most Greek gods, he did exactly as he pleased and kidnaped her. Demeter’s grief and depression at the loss of her daughter began affecting the crops – they died – which meant no harvest for the people of earth. This went on for almost a year because Demeter refused to bless the ground again until her daughter returned to her. Zeus intervened and struck a deal with Hades and Demeter. Hades had to allow Persephone to be by her mother’s side for six months out of the year. Thus the four seasons were born. Persephone was with her mother during spring and summer, and the harvest thrived. But in falland winter, when Persephone was with Hades, Demeter refused to bless the earth, and it was barren.

Whims of the Greek gods aside, there are some ways that we can use the fall and winter months to ensure a better lawn for the spring. Seeding in fall is recommended for two reasons – grass has entered into its dormant period, and migrating birds begin to head for warmer weather, meaning there are fewer of them around to gobble your freshly scattered seeds. Also, the weather is a bit more temperate than the late summer heat, and rainfall is usually more frequent in the fall.

Many experts recommend “overseeding” - a rejuvenating lawn treatment that can improve your lawn’s quality and, according to the lawn care expert David Truby, “repair bare patches and make the lawn hardier by increasing drought tolerance and resistance to disease.” Truby also suggests fertilizing your yard in the fall to help with general wear and tear or wildlife damage. “Using the correct fertilizers will help your lawn recover from the summer and stay thick and healthy during the cooler part of the year, as well as help to keep away various pests that can harm your turf. If you want to protect your lawn over fall and winter and prepare it for a boost of growth in the spring, spread a nitrogen-rich fertilizer over your lawn during the fall period. This will give your grass plenty of nutrients to survive the winter and grow stronger and thicker in spring.”

Truby also warns that since various insect larvae are active in the fall, “Find an environmentally friendly, biological insecticide treatment that targets and eradicates some of the most common damaging insect infestations, such as leatherjackets and chafer grubs.”

And to state the obvious – mow and rake your lawn. “In winter, the wet and lack of sunlight affect the lawn,’ says Leigh Barnes, a garden specialist. “As the leaves fall, rake them away regularly. You should complete a final mow sometime in late November, whenever it is dry.” And,” Leigh says, “instead of composting fall leaves, consider using them as a natural mulch for your flower beds. A blanket of fall leaves on any flower bed will provide a layer of protection against the inevitable harsh frosts and freezing snow associated with winter.

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Commissioners approve needed repairs

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Houston County Seal 1280x640By Jan White
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CROCKETT – During a special meeting of the Houston County Commissioners Court held on Monday, Nov. 14, members approved a discretionary exemption from the competitive bid process in order to contract repairs at the Permanent Records Storage building, known as the Old Jail. Immediate action needed to be taken to maintain the climate control of the building that houses the county records. The project will be funded through the federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA).

The court voted to contract with Hargrove-Neel to replace four air-conditioning/heating units, repair one unit/ and update all units with hail guards, fresh-air dampers, and curb adapters at the Old County Jail building.

Additionally, the court elected to accept sealed bids for items funded through the ARPA Grant Fund for the purchase of a pickup truck for Precinct 3, a pickup truck for the Precinct 2 Constable, a replacement roof and gutter system at the Armory, and an updated camera system for jail.

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Sign thefts reported

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StopSign Stock

By Chris Edwards
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HOUSTON COUNTY – The Houston County maintenance office of the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) reported on Monday that several signs have been stolen.

A TxDOT bulletin posted on social media reported that at least 22 TxDOT signs have been stolen from along FM 2022 in Houston County.

While some individuals see road signs as fodder for their garage or dorm room walls, stealing or vandalizing signs is illegal, and according to TxDOT can result in serious consequences for motorists, as signs can communicate important information regarding road closures, construction zone particulars and other conditions on the roads.

Stop signs, for example, are popular targets for sign thieves, and if motorists are not familiar with intersections where stop signs are installed, the likelihood of collisions increase if the signs are gone.

Absent from the potential safety issues, it costs taxpayers millions of dollars, statewide, to replace signs, including ones vandalized with spray-paint or damaged by gunshots.

According to TxDOT, damaging, destroying, or stealing state property or state traffic control devices including road signs is a Class C misdemeanor if the damage is less than $100; a Class B misdemeanor if the damage is between $100 and $750; a Class A misdemeanor if the damage is between $750 and $2,500.

The Class A crime is punishable by up to $4,000 in fines and up to one year in jail. If the damage is between $2,500 and $20,000, the crime is a state jail felony and is punishable by up to $10,000 in fines and between 180 days and two years in state jail.

TxDOT’s Houston County office is urging anyone with knowledge of the theft to contact its office at 936-544-2264 or the Houston County Sheriff’s Office at 936-544-2862.

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