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  • Christmas angels in Kennard (video)

    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.

  • Festival of the Arts kicks-off Dogwood

    1 Dulcimer 01JIM POWERS | PCPC FILE PHOTO Musicians as well as artisans will have their talents on display at the festival of the arts at Heritage Village on Saturday March, 20.

    By Chris Edwards

    WOODVILLE – A surefire sign that things are eking back into the way they should be in Tyler County is that the Dogwood Festival is upon us, as in starting this weekend.

    The festival will kick off with the Festival of the Arts on Saturday at Heritage Village, and it offers a prime opportunity for residents and visitors, alike, to celebrate the heritage and culture of the county, which will turn 175 years young on April 2, the day before the events of Queen’s Weekend, the final weekend of Dogwood.

    The Festival of the Arts was one of the first victims of the slew of COVID-19 cancellations last year, as the entire Dogwood Festival had to be rescheduled and relegated to a single Saturday in June. This year, however, it is business as usual, with the pandemic on a downhill slide and the growing availability of the vaccines.

    Tyler County Heritage Society President Sarah Reinemeyer said the Village, along with its staff, volunteers and the TCHS Board of Directors wishes to welcome the public back after last year’s absence. The festival is “a fine time to learn, have fun, and make memories,” Reinemeyer said. “We eagerly await your return and hail your good health.”

    The gates will open at the Village at 9 a.m., and the festivities last until 3 p.m. Admission is $5, and visitors can tour the Village, take in some live music from the Village Stage and enjoy a special Dogwood Festival exhibit, which is on display in the special exhibits room next to the gift shop.

    Along with all of the aforementioned features, there will be a quilt show. Reinemeyer said the Sassy Scrappers group have decorated the entire Village with lots of beautiful homemade quilts. “Each is an art work on its own,” she said. “Many with the family memory to make it more precious.”

    Although the traditional dinner-on-the-grounds that has long been a part of the Festival of the Arts has been cancelled this year, visitors will still be able to get some of the legendary food that the Pickett House puts out, including the restaurant’s famous fried chicken and chicken and dumplings.

    On Sunday, the Village Street Bed and Breakfast, located at 201 North Village Street in Woodville, will host its Royal Tea, to which all of the little princesses are cordially invited.

    The event lasts from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. and offers the opportunity for young girls to meet the Royal Court and take photos with the princesses and the ladies-in-waiting and to make their own sash.

    Each of the girls who attends will also receive a crown of their own. Tickets are available at the door for $20.

    Mr. East Texas named

    In addition to the inaugural weekend for the Dogwood Festival, the customary honor of Mr. East Texas has been named. This year, Ben G. Raimer, MD, was awarded that title, as the festival’s executive director Buck Hudson announced on Monday.

    Raimer, a Warren High School grad (class of 1965) currently serves as the president ad interim of the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston. He has held many appointments, honors and has earned many advanced degrees.

    Raimer is a member of the Texas Pediatric Society Executive Board and President-Elect of TPS. He serves as chair of the Texas Health Institute Board of Directors and the East Texas Baptist University Board of Trustees. He is also a member of the Executive Committee of the Baptist General Convention of Texas and serves as a commissioner on the BGCT Christian Life Commission.

    Raimer served as chair of the Health and Human Services Commission Council for a term, appointed by then-Governor Rick Perry.

  • Fundraiser ongoing for child with multiple medical needs

    Ryan Addison Newborn 010721Ryan Addison at birth PHOTO COURTESY OF HANNAH WOLF ADDISON

    By Chris Edwards

    CENTER – If rising medical costs aren’t scary enough, the ancillary expenses of hospital stays and surgeries can be overwhelming, as well. Hotel stays, meals and other travel expenses can add up when a family member is ill.

    In this day and age, many folks get by with a little help from their friends, family and churches, and some fundraising efforts can be creative. Such is the case with Hannah Wolf Addison and her son Ryan. Hannah, a Center resident, is the granddaughter of Woodville Church of Christ Minister Keith Bellamy.

    Bro. Bellamy has kept his flock and his friends in the loop on what has been going on with little Ryan, who was born facing a litany of health problems. Ryan, who was born on Nov. 9, 2019, had difficulties breathing from the start, and following several incidents and a five-hour surgery to repair his esophagus, he was diagnosed with VACTERL syndrome, an acronym for which each letter stands for a different condition present at birth. “I was honestly devastated,” Hannah said, when she learned that her newborn baby boy had to be airlifted from Tyler to Medical City Children’s Hospital in Dallas.

    The costs from the many medical needs will continue to mount, Hannah said, with another surgery scheduled this year. To assist with these costs, Hannah is selling a wide variety of air fresheners under the fundraiser name “Mighty Dino Rawrs for Ryan.”

    Some of the products have colorful and creative, amusing names, such as “Lick Me All over” and “Leather & Lace,” but one thing is for certain, they smell better and last longer than similar products one can find in stores.

    Hannah said that initially, she and her sister began kicking around ideas of how to raise money for her family’s expenses, and originally, they were creating candles to sell. With her sister now enlisted in the Army, Hannah looked toward other ideas of goods to sell.

    She said she has a cousin who crafts similar products, and so she learned how to do them herself. With that skill in her bag, she has come up with a variety of different scents, ranging from the manly and/or rustic in nature (leather scents and one labelled “Coffee”) to the sweeter ones, which have the colorful names, and yes, the Coffee scent actually smells like premium coffee beans. The air fresheners are $10 apiece, and all of the proceeds are going toward any associated expenses with Ryan’s care to which they can be applied.

    Her grandfather has helped spread the word about Hannah’s wares. He said that Hannah has a lot of experience in working with young people with challenges.“She is a very loving mother, who is doing her best to raise her little son Ryan,” he said.

    Hannah Brandon and Ryan AddisonHannah, Brandon and Ryan Addison in a more recent photo PHOTO COURTESY OF HANNAH WOLF ADDISON

    Bellamy added that Hannah had a cousin who was challenged and became her friend when she was about two years old. After high school, Hannah worked as a counselor at the Texas Lions Camp.

    Along with the current fundraiser that utilizes her skill and creativity, some of Hannah’s family, friends and church family have helped out with barbecue fundraisers and a chili cook-off.

    Despite the challenges, Hannah is staying positive and grounded in her faith. “After we found out everything, I knew that God was going to take care of us, and He has ever since,” she said.

    While last year presented its share of challenges to her family, Hannah remains hopeful for the new year. “We’re just ready for the surgeries to be over so that we can all be safe and happy,” she said.

    In addition to the products she has listed on the Mighty Dino Rawrs for Ryan Facebook page, she will also create special orders. Anyone interested can message her via Facebook, or by text at 936-590-8338. Payments can be made online by way of Venmo at: @Hannah-Addison-6 or PayPal: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

  • Healthcare staff treated for National Health Center Week

    The Health Center of Southeast Texas recently observed National Health Center Week. The staff was treated to an appreciation lunch and gifts, and the patients were treated to gifts as well.The Health Center of Southeast Texas recently observed National Health Center Week. The staff was treated to an appreciation lunch and gifts, and the patients were treated to gifts as well.

    By Yvonne Cones

    The Health Center of South East Texas held a National Health Center Week recently. 

    The theme was “Lighting the Way for Healthier Communities Today.” The staff at every center, as well as every patient seen that week were given gifts and the staff were also treated to lunch in appreciation for all their hard work. 

    Melaney Strickland, the Marketing/Outreach Coordinator, said that the week was a success. The Centers, there is one in Shepherd and in Cleveland as well as other sites, recently held free COVID-19 testing for anyone and has been very active in the community. 

    You can call with questions or to schedule an appointment by calling Melaney at 281-592-2224 ext 206.

    The Coldspring Garden Club held its first meeting of the new year in Coldspring Community Center on Sept. 3. Social distancing and mask wearing were observed and the french doors to the lovely garden were open. 

    The talk on “Creating a Wildflower Garden for Butterflies” was given by Darnell Schrieber, a Master Gardener and Volunteer Alum at Mercer Arboretum, where she holds the title of “Seed Queen.” You can see that Darnell knows a lot about gardens. 

    She also designed the Nature Trail at Cape Royale, so this was an excellent start for the Garden Club in what has been a difficult year. I know a lot of us have turned to working more out in our yards when we were more or less house bound. 

    The Garden Club is a wonderful resource for many of us. Meetings are at 1.30 p.m. on the first Thursday of the month. 

    Go to the Facebook page for more info.

    Coldspring Area Art League, CAAL, is another great resource for the creative person, or even not so creative person. Art is a very subjective thing and any form can be fulfilling. 

    I know about this since I taught Art and Pottery many years ago in an English high school. Recently the League were saddened by the loss of one of their own. 

    Lou Turpin, a unique personality, full of humor and intelligence, who passed away. Turpin always brought her work to Chamber events and last year shared a space with Linda Deeter, an award winning artist member of CAAL, at Shepherd Celebration for Independence Day. 

    Go to the Facebook page to find out more about this organization.

    The Chamber phone died on me this week! I have to replace it but you can always email me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Please write Chamber in the subject heading. 

    I get a lot of emails. I hope to be back on track next week.

  • HOOPS FOR JESUS

    Faith Temple COGiC member Joe Walker (left) dribbles toward the basket against the defense of church visitor Dub Hill during the inaugural Hoops For Jesus event on Aug. 24 at the Corrigan church. (Photos courtesy of Faith Temple COGiC)Faith Temple COGiC member Joe Walker (left) dribbles toward the basket against the defense of church visitor Dub Hill during the inaugural Hoops For Jesus event on Aug. 24 at the Corrigan church. (Photos courtesy of Faith Temple COGiC)

    By Jason Chlapek

    CORRIGAN — Though widely known for its successful high school football program, there’s been plenty of basketball played in Corrigan recently.

    One can find a group of 10-14 people playing at Corrigan’s Faith Temple Church of God in Christ on a regular basis. Last week, there was a purpose for playing basketball.

    Church members Joe Walker, Isaac Freeman and Richard Thomas came up with the concept of Hoops For Jesus.

    “It was the first time we’ve done something like this,” Walker said. “There are some guys who play basketball, but never come to church. We made this deal where we play against the guys who don’t go to church and if we win, they come to church for one service. We believe that it only takes one encounter with God to make an impact.”

    The format for Hoops For Jesus was one-on-one. A player who is a church guest would call out a member to play one-on-one, or vice versa.

    Games were half-court and played to seven points. A basket made inside the arc was worth one point, while a basket made outside the arc was worth two.

    “We’ve had the gym open to the public for some time, but once the pandemic hit, we had to slow down,” Walker said. “Now we have it to where there’s about 10-14 guys coming in consistently. We have two great athletic directors in our church — Richard Thomas and Isaac Freeman — and they traveled around the world playing basketball. They bring different people in from all walks of life to play basketball.”

    Walker said he was “called out” the most out of any church member. There was a friendly wager during the games.

    “(The guests) said if they beat me, I buy them dinner,” Walker said. “But if I beat them, they go to church.”

    Walker was involved in a key matchup against visitor Dub Hill. Walker prevailed, 7-3, and Hill will attend church this Sunday.

    “We’ve had guys who say if they win they want to go to Red Lobster or a steakhouse or Chicken Express,” Walker said. “When you stick to what you said you would do, you develop trust because you stuck to your word. This is our way of being the church. We still have the doors open so when they come in, we have drinks and food. We call them weekly to check on them.”

    Walker said the church has other ways of ministering besides basketball. He also said Covid-19 has altered the way they worship.

    “We normally have a Sunday morning service and a Sunday evening service,” Walker said. “Since Covid-19 hit, we have a small gathering in our parking lot. We have to stay in our cars and have our facemarks on. The only one out of the car is our pastor. He stands in a tent with a shield and facemark. This works out pretty good because people on the streets can hear us and we’re not just inside a wall. We have a Home for a Mission group that goes out to all of the nursing homes and the hospitals in Lufkin. We get our choirs out and sing, we give out food on Thanksgiving and back to the community.”

    Being in Corrigan along the US Highway 59 corridor, Walker believes his church is blessed because of geography. This also makes ministry to other places along US 59 easier to reach.

    “Geography and location help us out because we’re located on a highway where many people are constantly passing by,” Walker said. “By us being right there on the highway, it helps us out a lot. We have a guy in Nacogdoches who contracted the coronavirus. Some of the people from our church sent out food and prayers.”

    Faith Temple COGIC has two locations in Corrigan — the original location at 814 Martin Luther King Jr. Drive and another is on US 59 South. Once human interactions can pick up again, Walker believes the new multipurpose building will be a great addition to the church.

    “With the multipurpose building, we can push the goals to the side and bring in chairs that seat up to 600-800 people for a service,” he said. “We’re still working to get the multipurpose building up to standard, but Covid has slowed down construction.”

    While Walker and the others who regularly play basketball enjoy it, he knows there’s a bigger purpose.

    “This is bigger than basketball, but we want to show them what the church is supposed to exemplify,” he said.

  • Joe’s Italian Grill named ‘Do-Gooder’ of the Year

                                   JASON CHLAPEK I PCE From left, Livingston city manager Bill Wiggins, Tanya Dora and Nancy Windham of the Texas Forest Country Partnership, Ilir Gjoka of Joe’s Italian Grill, Polk County Judge Sydney Murphy and State Representative James White celebrate Joe’s Italian Grill receiving the 2020 “Do-Gooder” of the Year award for Polk County Tuesday morning.

    Special to the Enterprise

    LUFKIN - Joe’s Italian Grill of Livingston was awarded the 2020 “Do-Gooder” of the Year Award for Polk County during the 2020 Texas Forest Country Partnership (TFCP) Virtual Economic Development Summit on Wednesday, Nov. 18.

    The award presentation was made on behalf of the TFCP by Robert Allen, president & CEO of the Texas Economic Development Corporation; Adriana Cruz, executive director of the Office of Economic Development & Tourism, Office of the Governor; and Bryan Daniel, chair of the Texas Workforce Commission.

    Christi Sullivan, chair of the TFCP, noted Joe’s Italian Grill, owned by Ilir Gjoka, was established in 2009 and has 12 employees, who assist in giving back graciously to the community.

    A few of Mr. Gjoka and his staff’s selfless acts include opening his grill to feed the homeless every Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day. In addition, free meals are provided to military veterans every year on Veteran’s Day and free meals are also provided to the Polk County Special Olympics participants.

    “Mr. Gjoka also makes a special effort to take care of others during distressed times. A tornado hit Polk County in April and although he was negatively impacted, he thought of others first offering free meals to displaced families and relief aid works. Thank you for your extreme acts of appreciation and kindness; this honorable award is well deserved,” Sullivan said.

    “We are proud to recognize Joe’s Italian Grill for your genuine concern for the well-being of others and for your relentless hours spent making sure more families are fed. Your commitment to those in your community and to the Texas Forest Country region during the COVID-19 Pandemic is invaluable.

    “Our summit is an opportunity to explore ways to improve the economy of our region and we appreciate everyone who attended virtually to help us celebrate “Do-Gooders” who go over and beyond the call of duty to serve others and be an integral part of our future”, she continued.

    In addition to recognizing the counties’ “Do-Gooder” winners, Jay Shands of Angelina County received the 2020 Silver Bucket Award. The Summit’s Keynote Address was made by Governor Greg Abbott followed by a regional and state-wide in-depth discussion with Featured Presenters Robert Allen, Adriana Cruz and Bryan Daniel. Other participants included Lonnie Hunt, executive director of the Deep East Texas Council of Governments and Economic Development District; Jennifer Harris, State Program Director of Connected Nation Texas and Wynn Rosser, President and CEO of the T.L.L. Temple Foundation presented an overview and an update on Broadband in our region. Concluding the Summit was a panel discussion with the region’s State Senator and State Representatives.

    A total of 12 Do-Gooder awards were presented, one for each county in the TFCP area. Either business or individuals could be nominated for the honor.

    Criteria for being nominated for the award includes:

    • Has given back to a community during the COVID-19 Crisis
    • Located in Your County.
    • If nomination is a business, must be a viable on-going business for one or more years, experiencing growth or stability over its business life.
    • Employs less than 100
    • Provides critical service or product, fills a void in the business community, or has a unique approach to delivery of goods and services.
    • May have overcome diverse or extraordinary circumstances to remain in business.
    • Business/Individual is supportive of community growth sustainability.
    • Is not a governmental agency or municipality.

    The TFCP, formerly known as the Pineywoods Economic Partnership (PEP) and the Deep East Texas Development Association (DETDA), was founded in 1960 as a non-profit economic development organization.  The TFCP is a regional economic development organization that is committed to coordinating economic development-related activities in Deep East Texas and further enhancing the appeal of the 12-county area that it serves.

    The Texas Forest Country Partnership is committed to enriching the economic prosperity and well-being of our region through marketing, business development, and advocacy.

  • Noah’s Helpers builds extension to local food bank, receives donation

                                   JASON CHLAPEK I PCE Joyce Knierim (right) of McWilliams & Son presents a check to Noah’s Helpers to purchase tools that were stolen from the volunteer group’s trailer last month. Members of Noah’s Helpers are (from left) Larry Jander, Bill Brewster, GB Wise, Willard Moody and Craig Knowler.

    By Jason Chlapek

    LIVINGSTON – Since its inception in 2004, Noah’s Helpers has been taking care of building projects throughout the community.

    The volunteer group, which is part of First United Methodist Church in Livingston, has spent the last week building an extension to the Mannafest food bank. The project is expected to be complete next week.

    “Mannafest has added a 30x40 addition and we’re framing it out so we can build walls and they can expand their operation,” Noah’s Helpers director Willard Moody said. “We’re also taking out walls and making a big waiting room area for their clients to come and get food and a new restroom.”

    Last month, a burglary on the FUMC property resulted in Noah’s Helpers’ trailer being burglarized and several tools were stolen. But, a local business came to the aid of Noah’s Helpers in the form of a donation.

    “We responded to a Facebook post about their incident,” Joyce Knierim of McWilliams & Son said. “McWilliams & Son donates to almost every nonprofit organization that goes on in Polk County. One of our biggest contributions from McWilliams & Son is we give back to our community. Our community gives to us, we give back to them.”

    When Noah’s Helpers started, the group built wheelchair ramps, porches, stairs and handrails. It also took care of minor home problems.

    “We do this kind of work for nonprofit organizations,” Moody said. “We don’t do projects of this magnitude too often. We probably build 3-4 wheelchair ramps a month.”

    Moody said Noah’s Helpers has 11 active members. He also said that Mannafest is a food bank that was started by several churches here and it has its own board now.

  • Patsy Wilson Citrus Drive

    20201208 133444COURTESY PHOTO Family honors former volunteer by providing produce to the community.

    LIVINGSTON— Former Center of Hope volunteer Patsy Wilson would have been pleased to see families in need receiving bags of oranges during the holidays.

    Patsy's family decided to honor her after she passed Sunday. They are providing many in the area with one of her favorite memories.

    "Growing up in Tyler, her favorite thing at Christmas time was she would get an orange," Patsy’s daughter-in-law Leigh Wilson said. "It was outside the means of her family's budget, but it was always their treasure at Christmas. She loved it and would always bring Cuties over here (to Center of Hope) at Christmas time."

    The family decided to buy as many of the small oranges as possible, bringing them to Center of Hope for families to enjoy. They purchased 112 bags of Cuties from Walmart and 3,024 candy canes.

    "We were actually thinking that maybe we would work with the Center of Hope and start an annual citrus drive for the mission Christmas time — the Patsy Wilson Citrus Drive," Leigh said.

    Patsy retired in 2003 and volunteered at Center of Hope. She was part of move to the center's current location and is remembered as a compassionate person who helped others. Always involved in the community, her focus was preventing childhood hunger and spreading joy. 

    The family is asking that all expressions of sympathy for Patsy be sent to the Center of Hope to continue her legacy. They are challenging all who are able to help during the holidays.

    "She had a heart for single parents struggling to feed their babies," daughter LaJuana Lattimore said of Patsy. "She made sure that every mother that needed food for her babies got it."

    Patsy worked in food service in the Humble Independent School District for 37 years. She was a dietitian and constructed menus for school children.

    "This is the way that we are expressing our grief for her, because this would just freak her out," Leigh said. "She would be like a kid in a candy store."

    For families to receive donations by Christmas, the Center of Hope is asking that blessings of food or funds are submitted as soon as possible. The center is open Tuesdays and Thursdays 1-3:30 p.m.

    Those hoping to submit produce are encouraged drop off items at 12:30 p.m. for 1 p.m. distributions. Center of Hope serves approximately 100 families on each of the two days per week.

    The center is located at 600 South Washington in Livingston and may be reached at 936-327-7634.

    MonCOURTESY PHOTO Patsy Wilson