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Houston County News - Breakout

Public hearing on solar farm canceled

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Houston County Seal 1280x640By Jan White
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CROCKETT – What looked to be a lively public hearing on the creation and designation of a Reinvestment Zone in Houston County for two solar farms has been tabled. According to Judge Jim Lovell some changes were made by the investors to the proposal, so the public hearing was canceled.

During the open comment section of the meeting, however, there was a discussion over the effect on land values and fire safety issues.

In other business, the court approved Jesse Johnson for a part-time custodian position at the Senior Citizens Center, Delman Orme as a Community Service Officer, Josh Bobbitt as a part-time advanced heavy equipment operator for Precinct 4, and the promotion of Matthew VanEgmond from Deputy to Patrol Sergeant Sheriff’s Office.   

The court also authorized the removal of the budget item for the Ratcliff Area Repeater, decrease in the budget item for the Lovelady Area Repeater, adding a budget item for a console for the Sheriff’s Office/Dispatch, and approved the purchase of a Grapeland Area Repeater, to be funded by the American Rescue Plan Act Grant Fund (ARPA).

After a lengthy discussion, the court voted to amend the Houston County Fixed Asset Policy to require transfers of fixed items of $500 or more between departments to have Commissioners Court approval.

Also approved was a policy that the purchase of any vehicle will be for the replacement of a current vehicle in inventory, except as authorized by the Commissioners Court.

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McCreight wins hotly contested JP race

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Jan White and Chris Edwards
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CROCKETT – Republican Candidate Mike McCreight became the newly elected Precinct 1 Justice of the Peace in the only contested race in Houston County. Democratic Candidate Kevin “KJ” Johnson and McCreight spent the better part of the last year and a half garnering support from the community, but on Tuesday night, Nov. 8 at 10 p.m. with over 90% of the votes in, McCreight bested his opponent by a more than 1,600 vote lead.

McCreight said about his victory, “It’s a weight off my shoulders. It’s been a long road. We’ve both worked hard, me and Kevin, and it’s a weight lifted off both of us. I’m excited and confident in my abilities to do the job. I plan to stay on at the Sheriff’s office until Judge Black’s term ends.” He continued, “I just want to thank everybody who came out and voted and put their faith in me. I’m going to do a good job for them.” When asked what he would say to the votors who supported Johnson, McCreight responded, “Give me a chance, and I’ll do my job and treat everybody fair.”

Johnson responded to the outcome by saying, “My grandfather always told me that a fighter rests between rounds, but a warrior never stops fighting until the battle is won. I’m a warrior. I might have lost this fight, but the battle is still not over. God has something in store for me. Whatever it is, I’m ready. I don’t consider myself a loser. I’m a community leader, and I’m going to continue to be a community leader and remain a staple in the community.”

As of Nov. 4, Election Administrator Cynthia Lum had reported that 3,764 Houston County residents turned out to vote, generating 27% of the early voting results. The information did not include absentee ballots submitted, as these weren’t confirmed until election night. The data was generated starting on October 24. Early voting totals were as follows: Crockett – 3,764, Grapeland – 247, Kennard – 113, and Lovelady – 168. Lum stated that they had a “fantastic early voting turnout for the November 8 mid-term election that surpassed the total turnout for the 2022 March Primary.”

In statewide elections, the nationally watched gubernatorial race between incumbent Gov. Greg Abbott and Democratic Party nominee Beto O’Rourke was called at press time in favor of Abbott winning a third term.

Houston County voted 77.6% in favor of Abbott’s re-election bid and 21.6% for O’Rourke. Libertarian candidate Mark Tippetts earned 22 votes. In other statewide races, Attorney General Ken Paxton also won a third term, defeating Democratic challenger Rochelle Garza. Lt. Governor Dan Patrick won re-election over challenger Mike Collier.

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Latexo HS Student Council to honor veterans

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LATEXO – The Latexo High School student council will honor veterans at a special Veterans Day Program on Thursday Nov. 10.

Veterans are cordially invited to join us for breakfast at 8:30 a.m. Thursday morning in the Latexo High School cafeteria, with a program to immediately follow in the Latexo High School gymnasium.

High School student council has prepared a special program for our veterans, and our elementary students will have a special presentation as well as some cards and gifts for the veterans who attend.

LHS is asking the Latexo school and community to help reach out to any veterans they may know, inviting them to join us on Thursday November 10 at Latexo High School at 8:30 a.m.

Also, if you would like for us to recognize any who have served our country but are no longer with us by providing a photo of the veteran to be displayed during our program, please bring this by the high school office.

Please contact the high school office at 936-544-5638 (ext 2) for more information.

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Leos host NASA engineer

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Leo President Ariana Gonzalez presents Nick Mustachio with a Leo Club T-shirt following his presentationLeo President Ariana Gonzalez presents Nick Mustachio with a Leo Club T-shirt following his presentation

By Joseph Tuggle,
Leo CommunicationChairperson

Nick Mustachio joined the Piney Woods Leos at the club’s monthly meeting on Oct. 2.

Mustachio is employed by Johnson Space Center in Houston as the Chief Engineer - JSC Aviation Safety Office and as a Flight Science Officer. He presented to the Leos his experience and knowledge while working for NASA.

Mustachio is a graduate of Texas State University and the University of Texas. He started his career with NASA as a Systems Engineer and worked his way up to his current position. Currently, Mustachio is working on the Artemis mission. This mission is to get man back to the moon in 2024. The plan is to send a shuttle orbiting around the moon and then return it safely to earth to better understand space and how to perform the maneuver safely. After the success of this mission, it’s on to Mars.

The planning, testing, studying and training of these missions is a long, methodical process.

Mustachio’s experience and expertise opened a wide range of questions from the Leos, who enjoyed the presentation and learned a great deal about aerospace engineering. Mustachio instilled the belief that dreams do come true, as his started in the fourth grade.

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Holiday Season gets early kick-off

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By Jan White
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CROCKETT – For many, Christmas can’t come early enough, and with it, hopes for better days and happier times. And Crockett is famous for beginning the Christmas season as soon as possible. That’s why the week before Thanksgiving, the town offers four celebration-filled days that are sure to offer something that pleases everyone in the family.

The holiday season will kick off with Crockett’s first-ever “Downtown Christmas Lighting Ceremony.” One of Crockett’s newest hometown improvement organizations sponsors the ceremony - the Downtown Crockett Association (DCA). The DCA is a small group of downtown business owners and interested parties whose goal is to promote tourism and activity in the area. Last year, the DCA asked the Houston County Commissioners to help revive an old tradition of outlining the downtown buildings with Christmas lights. Using special funds set aside for such improvements, the DCA worked with building owners to help install the lights. This year, Commissioners again agreed to help downtown businesses trim their buildings with lights to help Crockett residents and visitors to the city celebrate Christmas. Robin Ogg, a DCA member who designed the historical banners seen around town, has also created Christmas in Crockett Banners, which downtown merchants can purchase and hang prior to the season.

The Downtown Christmas Lighting Ceremony will take place on Wednesday, Nov. 16, in collaboration with the DCA and the Ministerial Alliance. The Official Lighting of Downtown will take place at 6 p.m. The square’s east side will be blocked off for the free event that features Christmas music, choirs, a bell choir, and guest speakers during the hour-long event.

On Thursday, Nov. 7, the Houston County Career Women will host Crocket’s Annual Lighted Christmas Parade. This year’s parade theme is “Songs of Christmas.” Awards will be given in various categories. For a free entry application or more information, contact Crockett Embroidery at (936) 544-2505. The parade follows a route around the square. Bring your lawn chairs and hot chocolate, and be prepared to enjoy the Christmas Spirit.

The Piney Woods Fine Arts Association will host Texas Country Music Legend Cory Morrow at the Crockett Civic Center on Friday, Nov. 18. Not your typical concert, the Civic Center will be transformed into an upscale dance venue, with VIP table seating and a dance floor for attendees not content to just sit and tap their feet to the music. Contact Piney Woods Fine Arts (936) 544-4276 for ticket purchases or questions regarding the event.

And on Saturday, Nov. 19, Crockett will celebrate its 41st Annual Christmas in Crockett. Festivities begin at 10 a.m. and wrap up around 5 p.m. This year, the petting zoo will expand so youngsters can enjoy getting up close and personal with even more of their favorite animals. And a fan favorite is back this year- the Christmas in Crockett Cookie Competition. There are two categories: Decorated and Holiday cookies, with three age divisions: 6-12 years, 13-17 years, and adult. One dozen cookies must be turned in to the Crockett Area Chamber Booth by 1 p.m. Submissions will be judged on taste, decoration, and presentation. Only one entry per division per contestant. For more information, contact (936) 544-2359 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

If you, like many others, are anxious for the Christmas Season to begin, ‘save the date’ for the middle of November and make plans to attend these exciting events.

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