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  • 2020-21 Hunting Season

    Scott Vaughn and grandsonCOURTESY PHOTO Scott Vaughn and grandson posing with a hog shot in Northern Tyler County October 30, 2020.

    By Caleb Fortenberry

    Covid-19 has had people recreating more this past year than in the last several years and with White-tailed deer muzzleloader season being over, there have been plenty of eager East Texan sportsmen wanting to show off a few bagged game animals.

    For years, newspapers have been publishing sportsmen and their game. Here recently, showcasing has been less than normal. Maybe it’s time to start showing off those game that hunters haven’t been able to brag on for some time.

    Here’s a list of a few of the harvests from East Texas, or people from the area:

    Tyler County

    1. Tina Barnes

    Tina BarnesTina Barnes - 9 point, with crossbow in Chester, TX on October 24, 2020.

    2. Dusty Sturrock

    Dusty SturrockDusty Sturrock - 9 point in Chester, TX on November 15th, 2020

    3. KimSturrock

    Kim SturrockKim Sturrock – 8 point in Chester, TX on November 8th, 2020

    4. Mark Keller

    Mark KellerMark Keller - 9 point 14.5”, spread in Colmesneil, Tx on November 27, 2020

    5. Buck Odom

    Buck Odom 2Buck Odom – Hog shot between Woodville and Chester on December 17, 2020.

    6. Nathan Vaughn

    Nathan VaughnNathan Vaughn - 8 point buck at the Diamond T Ranch in Warren, Texas on January 3, 2021.

    7. Scott Vaughn

    Scott VaughnScott Vaughn - 10 point buck in Northern Tyler County November 8, 2020.

    Polk County 

    8. Ashton Davis

    Ashton DavisAshton Davis - Doe, harvested in Texas hunters club in Soda, TX.

    9. Paul Oliver

    Paul OliverPaul Oliver - 10 Point with a 19 Inch Spread at the Texas Hunter Club in Soda, TX.

    Houston County 

     10. Hunter Burris

    Hunter BurrisHunter Burris, 9 years old from Danbury, TX holding his first deer, 7-point, on January 2, 2021 in Crockett, TX.

  • Brady addresses ‘border crisis’ at town hall

    Brady at Moosehead1ALTON PORTER | HCC Rep. Kevin Brady (R-Tx 8) addresses a crowd of constituents at a Monday town hall held at the Moosehead Café in Crockett.

    By Alton Porter

    CROCKETT – US Congressman Kevin Brady (R-Tx 8) held a town hall with an audience in Crockett at the Moosehead Café on Monday highlighting his presentation with a talk about what he termed a “border crisis” on the southern border of the United States.

    “So, right now, I know President (Joe) Biden is in denial, but we’ve got a humanitarian crisis at the border,” Brady said.

    “We’ve got a security crisis at the border. The number of those illegal (immigrants)—whether they’re kids coming without their parents or single people coming across that border—has just surged since the election,” he continued.

    Brady also spoke about Biden’s halting of the border wall construction and the reinstatement of a release policy for undocumented border crossers.

    “You’ve got to shut the back door of illegal immigration so you can keep open the front door of legal immigration,” Brady said.

    Brady also spoke of issues with law enforcement surrounding the border issue. He said the number of home break-ins have surged in Uvalde, where police officers are engaged in 10 to 12 dangerous car chases each week and city officials are seeing property damage.

    “This president, President Biden, he incited this border surge. He needs to take responsibility for it,” he said.

    Before speaking about the border issue, Brady touched on several other issues, and he responded to comments and questions from attendees.

    One point he addressed is a bill that passed the House to nationalize state and local elections, which he said would effectively ban states from having voter ID laws, allow same-day voter registration and ballot harvesting.

    “Plus, when they take over our state and local elections, I guarantee you we’re going to have less integrity in our elections, not more. And we’ve got a problem right now where a lot of Americans just don’t trust election results,” he said.

    In answer to a question, asking what Senate Republicans are doing to stop this, Brady said, “They couldn’t do anything about that COVID bill because they (senators) did it with a simple majority (vote). As long as Democrats don’t get rid of the filibuster and Republicans hang tight, those bills don’t go farther. What our (Republicans) role is right now (is that) not a single Republican voted for Covid (stimulus) payoff. No one voted for the (elections) nationalization. No one voted to defund the police, which was the next bill. No Republican voted to ban state right to work laws,” he said.

    Brady also addressed “two more gun-control bills that will do nothing to keep us safer—do nothing to keep guns out of the hands of criminals, just make it harder for law-abiding citizens to be able to defend themselves,” both of which passed the House two weeks ago.

    “We all … want these mass shootings to end,” he said. “Those two bills they passed, which I opposed, won’t do a single thing to stop a single mass shooting.”

  • Bulldogs knock down 12 treys in blasting Elkhart

    IMG 0767LARRY LAMB | HCC Crockett’s Delvin Walker launches one of his seven three-pointers against Elkhart in the district opener.

    By Larry Lamb

    You’d never know the Crockett Bulldogs had only played two games before their district opener.

    The Bulldogs swooshed in 12 three-point shots as they raced past Elkhart 86-39 Tuesday, Dec. 15 at The Hop in Crockett.

    “This was only our third game with probably just 15 practices,” said Bulldog head coach Jordan Caldwell, noting that Elkhart had played eight games and came in with a 4-4 record.

    The Bulldogs jumped out to a 25-10 first quarter lead and increased it to 50-29 by halftime. Outscoring the Elks 18-9 in the last two quarters, Crockett carried a 68-28 lead into the final period.

    The Bulldogs put on a three-point shooting clinic behind junior Delvin Walker, who buried seven from behind the arc. Jadyn Collins drained two while Tayshawn Simon, Ty White and Ja’Lyne Carruthers each nailed a trey for a team total of 12.

    Walker finished with 25 points to pace the Bulldogs. White tossed in 13 points, all in the first half, while Keshun Easterling and Jadyn Collins booked 11 and 10 points, respectively.

    Rounding out the scoring were Chris Purvis with eight, Courtney Byrd six, Carruthers four and Simon three. Carlester Nealy, Bre’Dron Tucker and Jalen Patton chipped in two apiece.

    Elkhart sophomore Cale Starr pumped in five treys and accounted for 28 of the Elks’ 39 points.

    “I’m very satisfied with the way we played tonight. As a unit everybody did good. Elkhart played a heck of a game,” Caldwell continued.

    He said individual standouts were Delvin Walker with his seven three-pointers, point guard Ty White and guard Tayshawn Simon. “Delvin’s only a junior so his future playing basketball is very bright,” added Caldwell.

    Caldwell noted the Bulldogs only practiced once before their 56-36 season opener loss New Waverly.

    “Hats off to New Waverly. They’re a great team,” said Caldwell, noting that New Waverly has earned a spot in the state polls. New Waverly (9-1) was ranked No. 14 in the TABC poll issued Dec. 21. Crockett was ranked No. 7 in early polls but has since dropped out.

    “We’re still learning. We’re obviously young but we have a lot of players who came back. I think we definitely have the potential to go far,” said Caldwell.

    The Bulldogs (3-1, 2-0) closed out pre-holiday action by beating district rival Groesbeck 87-46 on Dec.18.

    Before resuming district play Jan. 5 at Buffalo, Crockett will travel to Pollok Central Dec. 29 and host a varsity home game Dec. 31 at noon against the East Texas Archers, a team comprised of homeschool students in the Lovelady area.

  • Campbell wins elite bull riding event

    Boudreaux CampbellCOURTESY OF PBR Boudreaux Campbell

    By Chris Edwards

    KANSAS CITY, MO – For Crockett’s own Boudreaux Campbell, the hard work just keeps paying off in the form of shiny new buckles, prize monies and fame on the bull riding circuit.

    Campbell, who is the reigning PBR (Professional Bull Riders) “Rookie of the Year” just won another highwater mark in his sport: the PBR’s annual “Unleash the Beast Caterpillar Classic,” which took place Sunday at the T-Mobile Center in Kansas City, Mo., an elite event that a PBR news release referred to winning as “the bull riding equivalent to a walk-off grand slam.”

    The 22-year-old Campbell has skyrocketed up in the world standings of bull riders from #53 to #14, trailing fellow East Texan Cooper Davis, from Jasper, out of a field of 45 top competitors. Davis placed second in Sunday’s event with 97 points, while Cambpell’s first place finish amounted to 143 points and a check for $27,636.74.

    Since beginning his PBR career in 2018, Campbell has accumulated winnings of $541K and won three PBR events. His standings in the world-ranked bull riders last year were #3, and last year he won the San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo Xtreme Bulls contest, among others.

    Cambpell has been active in rodeos since the age of 4, when he started mutton bustin’, and since graduating from Lovelady High School in 2017, he has made a steady climb to the top of the professional rodeo world.

    Cambpell went for a flawless three-for-three in the events that comprise the two-day “Unleash the Beast.” In round one, he had the second-best score of 88.5 when he rode Hard Shot. His results in round two put him atop the leaderboard when he made the 8 on Dr. Campbell for 86.75 points, according to the news release.

    It was his ride atop the fierce bovine Woopa that gave him 95.5 points and put him where he needed to be in the overall standings for his sport.

    Fans can watch all of the action from Unleash the Beast on RidePass, at RidePass.com or via the mobile app.

  • CISD election results canvassed, trustees sworn in

    NEWS CISDTrusteesALTON PORTER | HCC Longtime CISD trustees Roy E. Johnson, center, and Karen Norman, right and newly elected trustee Gerald Colter, left, were sworn-in to begin their new terms on Monday.

    By Alton Porter

    CROCKETT – Two longtime members of the Crockett ISD board of trustees and one newly elected member began serving new terms on the school board at a special meeting Monday.

    The two trustees who were already on the board—Vice President Roy E. Johnson, who represents District 3, and Secretary Karen Norman, the representative of District 4—were unopposed in their bids to continue serving on the board.

    So, they did not have to run for reelection, and members of the board canceled the May 1 election to fill the District 4 position at a Feb. 22 meeting and canceled the election for the District 3 position at a March 29 meeting, therefore, Johnson and Norman were automatically re-seated on the board.

    Gerald Colter, a Crockett High School graduate, Texas Department of Transportation retiree and current parttime employee of the city of Crockett, is the newly elected trustee and he fills the Super District 7 position on the board, which was held by the late Lela Pearl Houston Wheeler, who served as board president until her death last November.

    Colter received 150 votes—98 in early voting and 52 on election day—in the May 1 election to fill the District 7 position, defeating Pastor Johnny Taylor, who has been employed 30-plus years as a school administrator, teacher and coach, and received 137 votes—89 in early voting and 48 on election day.

    The election results for the District 7 position were canvassed and approved at Monday’s meeting, the primary reason why the special meeting was called.

    After the canvass and approval of the results for the District 7 position election, the three trustees who are beginning new terms—Johnson, Norman and Colter—were administered the Crockett Independent School District Board of Trustees oath of office before they took their seats among the other board members and began serving the new terms.

    The oaths were administered by Rhonda Kendrick, CISD’s executive secretary and human resources director.

    In other business, the trustees voted to reelect officers who were already serving in board leadership positions giving them the opportunity to continue serving in those positions: District 5 Trustee Dr. John Garner, president; Johnson, vice president; and Norman, secretary.

    “I feel honored that the board has elected me to serve (as president) again,” Garner, who will soon begin his 11th year on the board, said in a statement to the Courier after the meeting was adjourned. “And I’ll do my best to lead in a way that will be similar or in a manner worthy of Mrs. Lela Wheeler, who preceded me.”

    “I appreciated her very much and I’m real excited about having a full complement of board members again. I appreciate Mr. Colter’s willingness to be able to serve on the board. I look forward to this time that we can serve the community and the district. I appreciate those that are willing to serve on the board,” he said.

  • CISD trustees accept $3.2m bid for juvenile center

    CISDALTON PORTER | HCC Crockett High School junior students Katlyn Marshall, left, and Keaton Crabtree addressed CISD trustees at Monday night’s meeting asking that the wearing of facemasks not be mandatory for students as they attend this year’s prom at the school.

    By Alton Porter

    CROCKETT – Crockett ISD trustees have accepted a bid to sell the district’s Juvenile Justice Center property for a substantially higher price than they paid to purchase the facility a little over three years ago.

    The Crockett Independent School District Board of Trustees voted to accept a $3.2 million bid, submitted by Merkabah, Inc., headquartered in the Houston area, to purchase the former Crockett State School property at a meeting Monday evening.

    The school district’s officials paid $650K in cash and turned over the district’s $61,000 bus barn/transportation facility to the city of Crockett to pay for the property, located across Loop 304 from the district’s administrative office building in January 2018.

    “We did invest some money in that property,” School Board President and District 5 Trustee Dr. John Garner said.

    Merkabah’s owner has indicated that he plans to have the property developed into a residential facility, but not for the same level of students that some of the past organizations that owned the property served, CISD Superintendent John Emerich said.

    Although the campus will be a juvenile facility, plans are for it to be a place for foster care youth, the CISD superintendent said, adding, so it won’t be for kids that have been sent there because they’re in trouble.

    “It will be much different,” Emerich said. “They (Merkabah employees) take care of the education of their students, so it won’t be something where we’re constantly (having) kids coming to our school. That will not be the case. It will not be a burden on the school, which has been something that has happened here in the past.”

    Garner said the Merkabah company and its owner were vetted quite extensively, and it was determined that they will be good owners and developers of the property.

    The motion that passed, approving and accepting Merkabah’s bid, after the trustees reconvened the open, public part of the meeting following an executive session, was made by Board Secretary and District 4 Trustee Karen Norman and seconded by District 1 Trustee Ansel Bradshaw.

    “I’d like each one of us to consider the transition that will have to take place and how that will affect our students’ positivity by selling this property,” said District 2 Trustee Stephen Tuggle. “It is an asset, but we have an investment that we are, I guess, cashing in, for lack of a better word. And we also have an opportunity to use those funds for the betterment of our students here in Crockett High School.”

    “I think it is worthy to note that this bid and the proposed action that will take place there is something that will benefit not just the school district but the entire community with jobs coming to the area,” Emerich said. “And I think this is a win-win all the way around.”

    “I feel that all the board members understand the history and the heritage that property has brought in this community,” said Garner. “We take this action very seriously. It’s been considered extensively. We feel that, as the bid process is ongoing, it’s an opportunity, as Mr. Tuggle said, not only for the district but for the Crockett community, the company of value, and very worthy of our consideration.

    “Any action that’s taken regarding the property is done after due diligence and our effort to make the best use of this entrusted property for the district as well as the whole community. We feel like that’s what will occur if this purchase proceeds.”

    Emerich said, “There are some things in the agreement that we’re going to get some time to continue using … after the sale goes through to give us time to build new facilities.”

    He noted that he visited some of the other facilities that belong to the Merkabah owner and he feels “very comfortable about this gentleman and his operation (and) what they were doing.

    “This company has some big plans to do a lot of additional building. When everything is up and going, it’s going to bring a lot of jobs to the Crockett community.”

    “It will help infuse additional revenue and business activity,” Garner added. “That’s one of our main goals.”

    Mask resolution adopted

    CISD trustees voted to adopt a resolution regarding the wearing of face coverings by students and employees at the district’s schools.

    In offering the motion to adopt the resolution, Bradshaw read a statement, saying, “Masks are recommended for all staff and students. Temperature checks will be continued to be done on all campuses for staff and students. And any visitor visiting Crockett Independent School District during instructional time are required to wear facemasks while on district property.”

    During public comments, Crockett High School junior’s Katlyn Marshall and Keaton Crabtree, daughter of District 6 Trustee Josh Crabtree, addressed the trustees and asked that it not be mandatory for students to wear facemasks at this year’s prom. They requested that wearing facemasks to the event be optional.

    In his monthly report to the trustees, Emerich noted that they will have a special meeting Monday, May 10, beginning at 5:45 p.m., to canvass the results of the district’s trustee election. Emerich reported that 136 voters had cast ballots early—103 in person and 33 by mail—in the election as of Monday evening. Early voting ended Tuesday; election day is this coming Saturday, May 1.

    Seeking election to the Super District 7 position are Johnny Taylor, who has been employed 30-plus years as a school administrator, teacher and coach, and Gerald Colter, a Crockett High School graduate, Texas Department of Transportation retiree and current part-time employee of the city of Crockett.

    The trustees voted to approve personnel recommendations submitted by Emerich and his staff: the hiring, resignation and reassignment of district employees. Among those employed is Judy Leediker, who was rehired to fill the position of Crockett Junior High School principal.

    In a district continuing education credit board training report, Rhonda Kendrick, CISD executive secretary and human resources director, noted that all of the trustees are in compliance with the Texas Association of School Boards training requirements.

    Among items requiring action, the trustees approved changing a district’s previously scheduled half day of school from Sept. 24, the previously scheduled homecoming day, to Oct. 8, the rescheduled homecoming day, on the district’s 2021-22 school calendar.

    In addition, the board members approved the district’s annual Allotment and TEKS (Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills) Certification for the 2021-2022 school year and approved continuation of a legal services agreement with Powell Law Group, LLP, the district’s legal counsel firm.

  • CISD’s SHAC actions cut back due to COVID, but not totally halted

    IMG 0261 ALTON PORTER | HCC Six members of CISD Superintendent John Emerich’s Superintendent’s Student Cabinet, pictured above, shared comments about their experiences on the cabinet at a board of trustees meeting Monday.

    By Alton Porter

    CROCKETT – The usual activities of Crockett ISD’s School Health Advisory Council (SHAC) were curtailed because of the coronavirus pandemic during the 2020-2021 school year, however, the council was still able to take a few policy-related actions and kept tabs on health-related issues, according to Superintendent John Emerich.

    In his monthly report to the Crockett Independent School District Board of Trustees, at a meeting Monday, Emerich explained that the district’s SHAC is an advisory committee, and its purpose is for members to “look at health-related things and bring recommendations to me.

    “They had their last meeting of the year” recently and there was “a couple of big items from that meeting.

    “Obviously, there were a lot of things this year that we were not able to do because of Covid. So, some of the things in the family and community involvement area—we didn’t have much there.

    “But a couple of big things I do want to point out is that we had an audit this year of our nutrition services, and they passed for that. And so that was part of this. I think Ms. (LouAnn) Turner (Chartwell Food Service director of child nutrition) was on that committee.

    “One thing that came out of that was any policies that have to be in place—they actually wanted to look at some of those. But we passed on all of that.”

    Emerich continued, “They did talk about the mask policy. Of course, that’s been taken care of by your action last month and also by the governor’s action now. So, nothing more to say there.

    “And finally, one of the other things they did is they listened to a presentation that they recommended. And I want to tell you that, based on that recommendation, we allowed a company to come in. They’re actually in district today (Monday, May 24) and they will be in district tomorrow.

    “That comes in and does imaging on our employees if they so choose. It’s a voluntary thing if they want to do that. And I know we’ve had a lot of staff members take advantage of that. I don’t know the final number is going to end up being, but a lot of people thought that was a good thing to do.

    Next, Emerich announced that a district Employee Appreciation Breakfast, instead of a luncheon this year, is scheduled for Friday, June 4, at which, end of year awards will be presented to winning staff members, beginning at 9 a.m.

    Emerich reminded meeting attendees that June 17 is the deadline date to nominate persons for Ring of Honor recognition this year. He said no nominees had been received as of Monday.

    During his report, Emerich also introduced six members of the Superintendent’s Student Cabinet and gave them the opportunity to speak about the experiences they’ve had and the input, suggestions, concerns and opinions they’ve voiced to Emerich as cabinet members to help themselves, other students and community members.

    The cabinet members introduced were senior student and President Katie Bradshaw, junior and Vice President Katlyn Marshall, senior and Secretary Gloria Hernandez, senior and Community Service Chair Khushi Bratt, junior Keaton Crabtree and junior Trinity Meadows.

    “I cannot thank these ladies enough for what they’ve done for the district in giving their time this year,” Emerich said.

    Aiken hired as asst. supt.

    Following discussion in an executive session at the meeting, the trustees voted to approve the hiring of a new CISD Assistant Superintendent, Brian Aiken.

    In other meeting agenda items requiring action, the trustees voted to accept the donation of a laptop computer, delivered by Jason Barron on behalf of ABM, the district’s commercial janitorial services contractor.

    The computer is to be presented to a Crockett High School graduating senior in June. “We will continue to do this throughout the year,” Barron said. Other donations also were accepted by the trustees.

    In other business, the trustees approved a food service management proposal approving the continuation of Chartwell as the preparer and provider of food for district students.

    “We were just very glad and honored to be part of Crockett ISD,” said Turner, the Chartwell director. “And we have been for 15 years. We appreciate it.”

    In another action, the board members adopted a resolution, extending the district’s depository contract with a local bank.

    The trustees also approved the district’s school year 2021-2022 contracts with the Region VI Education Service Center.

    During public comments, community residents Dr. Robert Grier and John Jenkins addressed the trustees, touching on various matters, including the sale of the district’s Juvenile Justice Center property, being more transparent in board discussions and decision-making, prayer and moral teaching at CISD schools, teachers’ aides to enhance elementary education, transgender girls competition and establishing and enhancing vocational training.

  • City receives highest audit opinion

    Crockett City council 042721ALTON PORTER | HCC Molly Abele, of Axley & Rode, announced that Crockett city officials were issued an unmodified audit opinion and presented highlights of the city’s 2020 audit report to city councilmembers at a meeting Monday.

    By Alton Porter

    CROCKETT – Crockett city officials have again received the highest audit opinion an accounting and auditing firm can issue to them.

    The city officials were recently issued an unmodified opinion by the Axley & Rode, LLP, certified public accounting firm for their financial performance during fiscal year 2020, as has been so the past several years.

    They were informed of the opinion by Molly Abele, an Axley & Rode certified public accountant and audit partner, who presented the city’s previous year audit report to members of the city council Monday evening.

    “Management is responsible for the presentation and of these financial statements,” said Abele. “And our responsibility is to issue an opinion on them. We are issuing an unmodified opinion, which is the highest opinion we can give. It states that everything here is presented fairly in all material respects.”

    Presenting some of the report highlights to the councilmembers, Abele first referred to a part of the report that focused on “governmental activities, which is your general fund, service fund and grant fund; and your business type activities is your water and sewer,” she said.

    “As far as your total assets for the current year compared to last year, they are up just approximately over $3 million. The majority of that, between both your general activities and the business type activities, is your construction you have going on. And most of that is around $4 million as well.”

    Total liabilities citywide was up approximately $2.4 million, Abele said, adding, “You’re drawing down on that USDA loan and you’re down to about $2.5 million. So, that was the majority of the increase of the total liabilities there.

    “Overall, your total net position, including those assets and that debt that you acquired is just over that $10 million. You can see that the majority of that is in your capital assets for the city. So, over 60% of that $10 million is your capital assets.”

    Referring to activity for the general fund, total revenue in 2020 was pretty comparable to that in the previous year—nothing unusual there, Abele said. “Your expenditures increased approximately $200,000. The majority of that was the increase in payroll as well as an increase in general administration and police. Most of those were payroll.

    “Your overall expenditures for the general fund were $5.3 million…, and your net increase in the general fund was just over $76,000.”

    Concerning the city’s general fund budget, which is how officials operate the city, Abele said, “You were under budget on your revenues just slightly, but you were (also) under on your expenses about $186,000 for the year.

    “So, you did a very good job of staying within your budget for the year. With the increase in your sale of assets, which is not necessarily a budgeted item, you had an overall change from where you expected to be which was a net loss of $75,000 to a net increase of $76,000. So, you had a good year for what 2020 was.”

    Referring to a slight change in the 2020 audit report, Abele said, stemming from federal money and grants, the city received over $750,000 in federal revenue for the year. “We had to come in and do what’s called a compliance audit,” she said.

    “So, we picked some of those programs. We go in-depth in some of that detail and we audit that particular program. The largest one that we reviewed this year, of course, was the USDA loan. “We have no issues or compliance findings with that to report to you, so everything was working well with that grant.”

    In other business, the councilmembers voted to adopt a resolution denying a distribution cost recovery factor rate request recently made by Oncor Electric Delivery Company, LLC, and that addresses other related matters.

    “Oncor is submitting a request to recover a little over $97 million in their distribution cost for this past winter storm,” said City Administrator John Angerstein, noting that had the councilmembers not approved the resolution or responded to Oncor’s request, city officials would automatically have had to participate in the company’s distribution cost increases for the city of Crockett.

    “By doing this (adopting the resolution), we push it (Oncor’s request) back. (Now) they (Oncor executives have to go through the Public Utility Commission proceedings and justify the cost and their expenses and also retain a special counsel that they will have to pay for that represents the city to help negotiate those policies to spread it out over a longer period of time and/or argue some of those costs, whether they were necessarily winter-related damages,” Angerstein said. “So, it makes them go through a little more checks and balances before they increase the electricity rates in our city.”

    During the public comments part of the meeting, Mayor Dr. Ianthia Fisher noted that early voting began Monday and continues through next Tuesday for the city’s May 1 election. Precincts 1 and 2 council member seats are up for election.

  • Crockett boys edge Madisonville in home debut

    IMG 0570LARRY LAMB | HCC Madisonville’s Casey Holliday (4) tries to wrestle the ball away from Crockett’s Chris Purvis-Torres during a non-district game Tuesday, Dec. 8 at The Hop. The Bulldogs won 48-44 to even their record at 1-1.

    By Larry Lamb

    Crockett and Madisonville’s hardwood reunion after a two-year hiatus exceeded fans’ expectations.

    The Bulldogs fended off the class 4A Mustangs in the closing minutes to win their home opener 48-44 Tuesday, Dec. 8 at The Hop.

    Madisonville had an early 9-7 lead but never led again as Crockett went ahead 15-11 at the end of the first quarter.

    The Mustangs got within a point several times over the next three quarters, but Crockett led 24-19 at the break and 35-31 at the end of three.

    After Madisonville opened the fourth with a bucket to make it a two-point game, Delvin Walker heaved in a three-pointer and Jadyn Collins canned a bucket to put Crockett up 40-33 with 6:27 left.

    After the Mustangs cut it to five, Walker slammed down a dunk to put Crockett up 42-35 with 5:15 to go.

    Back-to-back buckets by Madisonville made it a three-point game before Tayshawn Simon swooshed in a trey to give the Bulldogs some breathing room with a 45-39 lead at the 3:30 mark.

    The Mustangs refused to go away quietly, scoring two straight buckets and a free throw to get within a point, 45-44, with 2:41 left.

    After several scoreless possessions by both teams, Walker went back to the hole with :30 left to give Crockett a three-point cushion. Simon went to the line with :18 left and hit the front end of a one-and-one for a 48-44 lead.

    Madisonville missed the front end of a one-and-one with :13 left but got the rebound and put up an errant shot that was knocked out of bounds. The Bulldogs inbounded with :11 left and ran out the clock.

    Six Bulldogs scored, but none were able to crack double figures. Collins (1 trey), Simon (2 treys) and Walker (1 trey) scored nine apiece. Chris Purvis-Torres had eight, Tyvondrick White seven (1 trey) and Courtney Byrd rounded out the scoring with six.

    Madisonville’s Casey Holliday was the only double-digit scorer for either team with 16.

    This was only the second game for the Bulldogs while the Mustangs had already played six games.

    After starting their district schedule against Elkhart and Groesbeck before the holiday break, the Bulldogs will sandwich in a pair of non-district games with Pollok Central on the road Tuesday, Dec. 29 and East Texas Archers of Lovelady at home on Dec. 31. The Archers team is comprised of home school athletes in the area.

    Crockett gets back to district action Jan. 5 at Buffalo.

  • Crockett boys finish as district track runner-up

    IMG 2282LARRY LAMB | HCC Crockett sophomore Blake Jones heaves the discus 126 feet, 6 inches to win a gold medal in the District 20-3A track and field meet.

    By Larry Lamb

    District newcomers Franklin and Fairfield took home team titles at the District 20-3A Track and Field Meet on Wednesday, March 31 and Thursday, April 1 at Crockett ISD’s Driskell Stadium.

    Franklin racked up 202 points to capture the varsity boys crown over runner-up Crockett (114). Teague (71), Elkhart (67), Palestine Westwood (45), Fairfield (43), Groesbeck (41) and Buffalo (30) rounded out the team standings.

    Fairfield, which dropped from class 4A this year, dominated the varsity girls division with 218 points and Franklin was a distant second with 111 points. Palestine Westwood (92) was third, followed by Elkhart (71), Teague (64), Groesbeck (38), Crockett (15) and Buffalo (11).

    The top four finishers in each event return to Crockett next week to compete in the area meet. The top four finishers then move on to regional competition April 23-24 at Waco Midway High School.

    In running events, Crockett boys advanced in two relay races and four individual races. The Bulldogs had five area qualifiers in three field events.

    Randy Jones took gold in the 100-meter dash (11.55) and Keyshun Easterling was third in the 200 (23.28).

    Omar Garcia earned silvers in both the 1600 (5:01.27) and 3200 (11.26) behind Franklin’s Nate Philipello.

    Crockett boys finished second behind Franklin in two relay races

    The Bulldogs 400 relay team of Dennis Simmons, Xzavian Walker, Keyshun Easterling and Randy Jones posted a time of 44.02 and the 800 foursome of Easterling, Jadyn Collins, Walker and Jones clocked in at 1:31.18

    In field events, Crockett was led by a one-two showing in discus throw. Sophomore Blake Jones won the district title with a heave of 126’6” and teammate Melvin Evans took second with 116’9”.

    High jumpers Delvin Walker (6’2”) and Markell Paxton (6’0”) placed second and third, respectively.

    Freshman pole vaulter Joseph Tuggle was second with a height of 10’0”.

    Two Bulldogs ranked among the district’s top 10 athletes. Randy Jones was No. 8 with 18 points and Garcia tied for No. 9 with 16.

    In the varsity girls division, Lady Bulldog La’Kyra Hamilton qualified for area in two events. She was third in the 100 dash (13.34) and third in the 200 (26.71).

  • Crockett burglary suspect arrested in Huntsville

    MUGSHOT CorleyMUGSHOT Castein Austin Corley

    By Chris Edwards

    CROCKETT – Crockett Police last week identified one of the suspects in a burglary that occurred earlier in the month.

    According to a news release from CPD, a 20-year-old Crockett man, Castein Austin Corley, was arrested on March 12 by the Huntsville Police Department for warrants issued by CPD. The warrants were for Burglary of a Habitation and Engaging in Organized Criminal Activity.

    The burglary Corley was named as a suspect in occurred on March 4 in the 500 block of Anson Jones and was one of several to occur at the home within the last few months.

    Police say that suspects have taken in excess of $200K in cash and property.

    Footage from the victim’s home DVR system allowed law enforcement to obtain videos depicting the crime as it occurred, and the videos are available on the Crockett Police Department Facebook page, as well as the Deep East Texas Crime Stoppers page. The footage shows four suspects making unlawful entry into the home through a window.

    Both charges Corley faces are felonies, with the conspiracy charge a first-degree felony and the burglary a second-degree felony.

    According to the investigators working the case, the investigation is still ongoing, with the arrests of the other suspects to follow.

    CPD is asking the public to help with this case. Anyone with any information regarding the identity of the remaining suspects is urged to call the Crockett Police Department at 936-544-2021, or the Crime Stoppers tip line at 936-639-TIPS. Crime Stoppers tipsters can remain anonymous and can be eligible for a cash reward if information leads to an arrest.

  • Crockett Chamber $100 weekly drawing (VIDEO)

    IMG 8870TONI BROWNING | HCC The Crockett Area Chamber Executive Director Liza Clark, left, and Ashley Keenan, a chamber ambassador and Houston County Courier marketing director, conducted the drawing for the fourth week’s raffle Monday, Feb. 1, inside the office of the Courier, one of the sponsors of the event.

    By Alton Porter and Toni Browning

    The Crockett Area Chamber of Commerce is sponsoring a 10-week series of free giveaway drawings, called “10 in 2021”, through which lucky visitors to chamber-member businesses can win $100 each week.

    Chamber Executive Director Liza Clark visited the Houston County Courier office to draw the winning name on Feb. 1. Ashley Keenan, a chamber ambassador and Houston County Courier marketing director, assisted Clark by drawing the winner’s name.

    Linnea Robison, a visitor to Betty Boop’s restaurant, was the $100 winner of the fourth week’s drawing. Robison will receive $100 in cash and the restaurant will receive a free E-Blast from the Chamber. The E-Blast is sent out to all chamber businesses by email and contains information that is important to the winning company.

    Each Monday at 10 a.m., a winner’s name will be drawn at a sponsoring business. A live video is streamed on the Chamber’s Facebook page at that time.

    Sponsoring the drawings are Smitty’s BBQ, Knox Furniture, Bella’s Gifts and the Houston County Courier.

    For information on how you can participate in the free raffles, contact Clark by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or by phone at 936-544-2359.

  • Crockett knocks off unbeaten Malakoff

    IMG 1146LARRY LAMB | HCC Crockett senior Ty White glides to the basket during the Bulldogs’ 60-57 area round victory over Malakoff.

    By Larry Lamb

    Malakoff came into the area round unbeaten and ranked No. 9 in the state but the Crockett Bulldogs weren’t intimidated.

    Coach Jordan Caldwell’s squad toppled the Tigers 60-57 Thursday night in Palestine and advanced to the third round for a clash with No. 14 Lorena at noon Saturday in College Station.

    Closing out the first quarter with an 8-0 run, the Bulldogs took a 15-5 lead.

    Malakoff got within seven in the second quarter but trailed 27-16 at halftime.

    The Tigers started the third quarter by rattling off six unanswered points to make it a five-point game. Crockett answered with its own 6-0 spurt to push the lead back to 11, however, Malakoff got within six on two other occasions.

    Falling behind 41-33 with 2:36 left, the Tigers staged an 8-1 run to make it a one-point game with :42 left.

    Crockett scored with :25 left in the third to go up 44-41.

    The Bulldogs pulled away in the fourth with an 11-2 run that stretched their lead to 55-43 with 3:44 left.

    Senior Ty White splashed in a three-pointer and a deuce while senior Chris Purvis canned a bucket for a nine-point lead with 4:17 left.

    The Tigers called a timeout and then heaved up a three-pointer that rolled around the rim several times before falling out.

    After Purvis grabbed the rebound, White was fouled with 3:44 left and went to the line for two technical shots and two free throws. He nailed three of four, putting Crockett up by 12.

    Baskets by Tayshawn Simon and D.J. Walker kept the Bulldogs in front by 11 with 1:20 left, but Malakoff finished strong with a 9-1 run that included a pair of buckets and five-of-six free throw shooting to close the gap to three with 11.4 seconds left.

    The Bulldogs, who only made one of seven at the line down the stretch, missed an opportunity for two insurance free throws with 3.6 seconds left.

    But their three-point lead was enough to punch their ticket to the third round.

    White, seven of 11 at the line, led the scoring with 16 points. Walker tossed in 11 and Jadyn Collins rounded out double figures with 10.

    Courtney Byrd finished with nine, all in the first half. Purvis had six and Keshun Easterling had four while Simon and Ja’Lyne Carruthers chipped in two apiece.

    The Bulldogs made 13 of 27 free throws for 48 percent and Malakoff hit 17 of 32 for 53 percent.

    Nathan Jones led Malakoff with 16 and Jay Mosley had 14. Klayton Copeland, nine of 13 at the line, followed with 13. Karter Fuller, who fouled out with 3:41 left, scored seven.

    “We knew 24 (Copeland) and 4 (Fuller) were their best players. I’ll take losing but I’m not going to let just one or two players beat me. I know both are a heck of a player but I’ve got 13 guys on my team,” said coach Caldwell. “We mainly focused on 24 defensively. They had several people in foul trouble early and that helped us a lot.”

    “We came out slow in the second half and Malakoff went on that run. We had some guys that were making mistakes and getting down on themselves. I told the guys at this point it’s win or go home, so they rallied together and we got the W as a team. That’s what matters,” added Caldwell.

  • Crockett leaders updated on winter storm damage and recovery

    IMG 7751ALTON PORTER | HCC Crockett City Administrator John Angerstein, above, updated the city’s councilmembers on last month’s winter storm events and water losses and announced that the city has recovered from most of the damage done to its water system by the storms at a meeting Monday evening.

    By Alton Porter

    The city of Crockett sustained damage as a result of last month’s extremely cold winter storms. However, the city has recovered from most of the water problems and other damage caused by the weather events that were atypical for this part of the country.

    City Administrator John Angerstein presented an update on the recent “winter storm events and water loss” to Crockett city councilmembers and they discussed the matters at a meeting Monday evening.

    In a related item of business, the councilmembers voted to pass a motion approving a policy, which offers certain city water customers the opportunity for a one-time adjustment to lower their bills for “water loss due to the winter storm damage/leaks.”

    “Friday through Sunday (Feb. 12-14), after we were getting reports in from our weather forecasters, we realized that it (the winter storms) was going to be even worse than we initially had been told,” Angerstein said, in presenting his update, referring to a timeline he had distributed to the councilmembers.

    The timeline “gives everyone an idea of when this event happened and kind of our recovery process throughout it,” the city administrator said.

    “So, we sent out a couple of PSAs (public service announcements)—one on Friday and one on Sunday. We started scrambling as a city, going around and winterizing everything, covering and insulating all of our pipes, and doing what we could to double check our pumps and exposed piping and everything.

    “As a note, our pumps, all of our exposed piping, weathered the storm event really well. We have 12-inch water mains that go up our towers; those actually froze. We had heaters on those, keeping those thawed out. That’s how cold it really got.”

    “But we lost a couple of pumps at our wastewater plant due to freezing,” said Angerstein. “And we lost a pump on our sewer trailer. As we were trying to work it and also take care of sewer issues, the water froze up within that pump and it cracked as well. Those are insured losses.

    “Other than that, we faired (well), as a city, with our city infrastructure and our pumps and our systems. We came out of it with relatively little losses.”

    Angerstein continued, “During the night between Sunday and Monday (Feb. 14-15), is when things got serious for us enough to where our (water) system pressure really dropped…. We had no explanation for it, so we began sending people throughout the city, thinking we had water mains that had broken.

    “Between Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday (Feb. 15-17), our pressure just continued to drop with just no end in sight, and all the way up until last weekend, we were continuing to find water leaks. As of that time, we had turned off approximately 500 meters at locations where we had found leaks.”

    Angerstein noted that city officials and staffers opened the Crockett Civic Center as a warming shelter for residents whose electric power was out and needed a warm place to stay during the extremely cold weather days.

    “As a city, we spent a lot in manpower—staffing, overtime, fuel, equipment—but did not receive any really uninsured damages or losses,” Angerstein said.

    Concerning the Water/Sewer Bill Adjustment Policy, adopted in response to the winter storms, “Angerstein noted, “The city of Crockett is helping its water/sewer utility customers who experienced significant higher water/sewer bills as a result of water leaks resulting from the winter storms and prolonged freezing temperatures during the week of Feb. 14, 2021.

    “If you are a city of Crockett water utility customer and your water/sewer bill that included the week of February 14 was at least 25% higher than the billing average of your November 2020, December 2020 and January 2021 bills, you are eligible for a one-time water/sewer bill adjustment.

    “The adjustment is based on an assumption that such an increase would be due to a water leak. If eligible, the adjustment will reduce your monthly water/sewer bill that covers the week of Feb. 14 to be equal to your monthly average bill for November 2020, December 2020 and January 2021.”

    Water customers who believe they are eligible for an adjustment, can contact the city of Crockett water department office by phone at 936-544-5156, Extension 206.

    Also, during the meeting, the councilmembers received an update on Phase 2 of the city’s Small Business Relief Program presented by James Gentry, executive director of the Crockett Economic and Industrial Development Corporation (CEIDC).

    The program provides financial assistance to Crockett small businesses that have experienced economic fallout as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

    Gentry said several businessowners have expressed interest in receiving funds from the program.

    Forty businesses were granted $500 each through the first phase of the program. The CEIDC initially put up the money for that phase and was later reimbursed with funds made available by the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

    Gentry said the CEIDC is planning to provide $20,000 for Phase 2 as well.

    Owners of businesses with 10 or less employees that were impacted by the pandemic or last month’s winter storms may apply for funds through Phase 2 of the relief program by visiting the CEIDC office in the Crockett Civic Center or calling the office at 936-546-5636.

  • Crockett nips Rogers in bi-district

    IMG 1055LARRY LAMB | HCC Crockett sophomore Jadyn Collins (2) celebrates with teammate Courtney Byrd after a go-ahead bucket by Collins with six seconds left. The Bulldogs won the bi-district game 49-47.

    By Larry Lamb

    The Crockett Bulldogs dug themselves an early 12-0 hole, climbed all the way out and squeezed past Rogers 49-47 in bi-district basketball action Tuesday, Feb. 23 in Bryan.

    With the game tied at 47-all, sophomore Jadyn Collins converted an offensive rebound and putback with :06 left to give Crockett a two-point cushion.

    A deflection by Collins on a last-second trey by Rogers sealed the victory.

    “Rogers is a tough team. They played hard all the way down the stretch. I was telling my guys that we don’t need a repeat of the Franklin game,” coach Jordan Caldwell said in reference to a buzzer shot that lifted district champion Franklin to a 52-51 victory over the Bulldogs.

    The Bulldogs trailed 14-4 after a quarter but dominated the second 16-5 to slip in front 20-19 at intermission.

    Caldwell’s crew opened up a five-point lead late in the third only to see Rogers drain a three-pointer in the waning seconds to make it 34-32 heading into the final period.

    Early in the fourth Rogers wrestled its way in front 35-34 on a three-point play but Crockett answered with its own to regain the lead with 6:05 left.

    The rest of the game was a back-and-forth battle. Crockett never trailed, but Rogers tied the score four times.

    Crockett took its biggest lead of 45-40 on a putback by “big man” Chris Purvis and a three-point play by Collins at the 3:34 mark.

    Rogers hit a trey on its next possession and tied it at 45-all with 2:18 left.

    After a travelling call on Crockett gave Rogers possession, the Eagles put up an errant shot. Ja’Lyne Carruthers grabbed the rebound, took it down the floor and sank a shot off the glass to put the Dogs up 47-43 with 1:20 left.

    When Rogers tied it back up at 47-all with 55 seconds left it appeared the battle would go into overtime.

    Crockett ran down the clock to :14 before Carruthers drove the lane and put up a shot that rolled around the rim and out.

    But luckily, Collins collected the rebound and put the ball in for the game-winning bucket with six seconds left.

    This was only Crockett’s third game with its roster back at full-strength after playing half of its district schedule with a skeleton crew.

    The rust was evident early as the Dogs, plagued by turnovers and missed shots, didn’t dent the scoreboard until the 1:45 mark in the first quarter. Sophomore Courtney Byrd broke the scoring drought and junior D.J. Walker converted a steal into a layup with 10 seconds left, but the Bulldogs still faced a 14-4 deficit at the end of the quarter.

    Rogers seemingly couldn’t miss a shot in the first quarter but then couldn’t hit the mark in the second as the momentum shifted to Crockett.

    After being held scoreless in the first half, Collins booked 12 points after halftime to lead the offense.

    Walker finished with nine, followed by Carruthers with seven, Ty White and Purvis with six apiece, Byrd with five, and Tayshawn Simon and Keshun Easterling with two each.

    Senior Ben Hutka and junior Kade Sebek led Rogers with 15 and 11 points, respectively.

    The Bulldogs made seven of 11 free throws while Rogers hit seven of nine. Most of Rogers’ free throws were by senior Ty Sebek, who knocked down six of seven.

    Caldwell was encouraged by the resiliency his team exhibited.

    “For the most part my guys never gave up but we still have a lot of work to do,” said Caldwell. “We started off horrible and got down 12-0. Then we went on a 20-7 run to take the lead at halftime.

    “We started playing our style of basketball and pushing the ball. I told the guys if you make a mistake just be sure you’re moving fast. I think that was the difference late in the game. We kept pushing the ball and then we started getting some rebounds at the bottom too.

    “We’ll be okay. We just have to keep playing hard and fighting hard,” said Caldwell, whose team faced undefeated No. 9 Malakoff in the area round Thursday.

  • Crockett secures third place in 9-3A (VIDEO)

    Kickoff ReturnPHOTO COURTESY OF LARRY LAMB Trinity’s Marquavian Jaramillo returns the opening kickoff against Crockett Friday night.

    By Larry Lamb

    The Crockett Bulldogs can breathe a little easier heading into the first round of the state football playoffs.

    Coach Jimmy Thompson’s crew took care of business in their District 9-3A DI finale by dominating the visiting Trinity Tigers 39-0 Friday night to secure the third place seed.

    Crockett plays District 10-3A runner-up Anahuac in bi-district while fourth-place Trinity faces No. 8 ranked East Chambers, the District 10-3A champion.

    The Crockett-Anahuac matchup will be played Friday, Nov. 13 at 7 p.m. in Woodville’s Eagle Stadium.

    In other key district matchups Friday, Coldspring defeated Diboll 20-12 to capture the District 9-3A title and will play Woodville Thursday night in Crockett’s Driskell Stadium at 7 p.m. Woodville defeated Anahuac 27-22 but Anahuac took second based on a tiebreaker.

    Crockett’s first touchdown against Trinity was courtesy of the defense.

    A pick-six by sophomore Zandric Anderson on Trinity’s fourth play got the ball rolling and kicker Antonio Cruz put the Bulldogs up 7-0 with 10:51 in the first quarter.

    Anderson foiled Trinity’s second possession when he recovered a fumble at the Tiger 35. The Bulldogs scored three plays later on a 36-yard pass from sophomore quarterback Jadyn Collins to senior Ty White. Cruz, who was perfect on extra points, made it 14-0 at the 8:58 mark.

    After an interception by Keshun Easterling near midfield, the Bulldogs drove to the Tiger 12 before coughing up the ball.

    Pick SixPHOTO BY LARRY LAMB Crockett’s Zandric Anderson returns an interception for a touchdown against Trinity in a showdown for third place in District 9-3A DI Friday night.

    Unable to move the ball, Trinity was forced to punt and a high snap sailed out of the end zone for a safety to give Crockett a 16-0 lead with 4:16 left in the first quarter.

    Another interception by Easterling set up Crockett’s next touchdown. The junior snared the pass and returned it to the Tiger 48, but a penalty moved the Bulldogs back to their 35 yard line. Collins hit White for a 15-yard gain and found Randy Jones on a pinpoint 44-yard touchdown pass two plays later. The PAT put Crockett up 23-0 at the 11:00 mark in the second quarter.

    Crockett only had to travel 22 yards for its next touchdown after forcing Trinity to punt from the 10 yard line. Dennis Simmons picked up 18 yards to set up a four-yard blast by Easterling for a 30-0 lead at the 8:51 mark.

    Late in the first half Trinity reached the Bulldog 27 yard line on the running of junior fullback Andrew Crabtree before turning the ball over on downs.

    Crockett marched down the field but was unable to punch the ball in before fumbling at the Tiger 5 with :42 left in the half.

    After Jones returned the second half kickoff to the Crockett 17, the quick-striking Bulldogs extended their lead when Easterling took it to the house on an 83-yard run on first down just 21 seconds into the third quarter.

    Another high snap on a Trinity punt resulted in a safety that put Crockett up 39-0 with 7:46 to go in the third quarter.

    Crockett attempted an unsuccessful field goal from the 29 yard line on its next series.

    Trinity mounted a deep threat in the fourth quarter behind the running of Crabtree but ran out of steam at the 9 yard line.

    Crockett will also host a Class 4A bi-district game between Jasper and China Spring on Friday at 7:30 p.m.

     

  • DETCOG five-year transit plan summarized

    DETCOG Cunningham 052721ALTON PORTER | HCC Mark Cunningham, above, of DETCOG, presented a summary of the entity’s five-year transit coordination plan for residents in its 12-county region who have transportation needs or know of available services.

    By Alton Porter

    CROCKETT – Staff members of the Deep East Texas Council of Governments & Economic Development District (DETCOG) have held public meetings in the 12 counties the entity covers, including Houston County, to offer and receive information on transportation needs and services in the region.

    The meetings drew small attendances, according to DETCOG Regional Disaster Economic Recovery Coordinator Mark Cunningham, who came to Crockett last Tuesday, May 18, to present the Deep East Texas Regional Public Transportation Coordination Five-Year Plan and collect information from Houston County residents who have transportation needs or know of available services.

    Low turnouts at the meetings is not stopping DETCOG staffers from attempting to spread information about the plan and collect information from regional residents, Cunningham told the Courier at the Houston County meeting.

    “Some of our counties do not have any public transit,” DETCOG Regional Planner Bob Bashaw was quoted as saying. “In some of our counties you can call and schedule a ride a couple of days in advance. Some of our cities have fixed bus routes. The planning process gives us an opportunity to look for better ways these resources could be used.

    In addition, the press release states, “Anyone providing transportation is also encouraged to provide information on their services at the meetings. Matching up available rides with needs is an important part of the plan.”

    Persons who have needs or know of services and were unable to attend any of the meetings “can also submit comments and information at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.,” Cunningham stated, adding they may also call the DETCOG office in Lufkin at 936-634-2247. Also, “they can call 211—the 211 program—and they can be referred,” he said.

    Cunningham said, “We contracted with TxDOT (Texas Department of Transportation) to create a five-year regional transit plan. It’s one that we do every five years through TxDOT. It’s for the DETCOG region.

    “The contract was finalized before Jasper (County) was moved to the Southeast Texas Regional Planning Commission. So, they’re still included in this plan.”

    Cunningham explained, “Right now, Brazos Transit District is the designated public transit provider in the DETCOG region. They operate demand-response transit services in Houston, Polk, San Jacinto and Trinity counties. And then, they do fixed-route bus services, where the buses just make regular routes in the cities of Nacogdoches and Lufkin.

    “So, you can call them for the demand-response, or you can go online—btd.org. Then, the fixed-route bus services—you can find out more about those at btd.org, as well. As of right now, there aren’t any known public transit services in Jasper, Newton, Sabine, San Augustine, Shelby or Tyler counties.”

    Cunningham continued, “So, those counties don’t have the bus services from BTD or any others that we know at this point, which is why we’re having these meetings. We’re having the meetings so that we can learn of anybody that is providing transit services to veterans—to anybody, really.

    “So, that’s really the whole purpose of these meetings that we’ve been having in each of the 12 counties that makeup DETCOG. We go out in the communities; we ask people if there are people providing that services. We’re making sure that people have the information that they need and making sure we can get to the information so that we can pass it on to TxDOT so they can have it as well.”

    Cunningham added, “There are a few providers, like Nacogdoches has a taxi service and Lufkin has a couple of services, as well. But BTD is the main public transit.”

    He said the main needs DETCOG and BTD staffers have heard about in the region are medical needs and veterans’ needs, but he was not aware of any in Houston County. “That’s why we’re holding these (public meetings) so that we can hear from the public; so that anybody that has unmet needs, anybody that has ideas of needs, they can go through.”

    The Houston County public meeting was DETCOG’s ninth one, Cunningham said. Meetings also were held last week in Angelina, Trinity and three other counties. Meetings were held in the six other DETCOG region counties week before last.

    The message Cunningham said he would like to distribute to residents in the region is “just if they know of needs and have ideas of what can be used, to contact us—to reach out to us—and we can pass that along. We want to be able to provide as much help as we can—just to get the word out and to make sure that they can get that (help). We’re here to make sure that we can get that feedback. We are required to have the meetings, but we just can’t stress enough that people need to reach out with anything they’ve got.”

    Jo Marlow, of Bryan, BTD’s vice president for marketing and communications, who was present at the Houston County meeting and attended several others, according to Cunningham, confirmed Cunningham’s statement that Brazos Transportation District provides transit services in several counties in the region.

    “We provide a demand-response service. It’s a door-to-door service where people can—we would pick them up from one location and take them to another location. Here in Crockett, the majority of our transit needs are mainly medical—people getting to and from doctors’ appointments or hospital visits—something like that—or a pharmacy.

    “Our services are available to anybody,” said Marlow. “You don’t have to be disabled to use it. We’ll take you anywhere you’ve gotta go within Houston County.”

    To request BTD’s services, a person must first fill out a short application; “and then, if you want to call or schedule a ride, we’re going to need your pick-up location and your drop-off location, and if you’re going to an appointment or something, we need to know what time you need to be there,” Marlow said.

    The phone number to dial to request services is 979-778-0607, BTD’s main office number, and the caller will be transferred to its dispatch office to talk to a dispatcher to get setup for their trip, she said. “You can call up to a week in advance. As soon as you know when you’ve got an appointment, I would suggest calling because we do fill up pretty fast.

    “We do offer same-day service, but that’s just based on availability if we have the space and the drivers available, but I would suggest that you do it as soon as you can.”

  • Dixon takes reins as Crockett AD/football coach

    IMG 1493LARRY LAMB | HCC Lufkin native and former Texas A&M football player Alton Dixon is the new athletic director and head football coach at Crockett High School.

    By Larry Lamb

    Crockett ISD has selected Alton Dixon as its new athletic director and head football coach.

    Dixon, one of more than 130 applicants, was officially approved by the school board Monday night.

    The new AD was introduced to athletes Tuesday and is expected to start full time the last week of March.

    Dixon, a Lufkin native who played college football at Texas A&M, comes to Crockett from class 5A Wylie East High School where he was defensive coordinator/assistant head coach the past three years.

    “They hadn’t won in years and when we got there we flipped it over. That was the first time they’d been in the playoffs in about 15 years,” Dixon said of Wylie East’s program.

    Dixon was a defensive player at Lufkin High School under legendary coach John Outlaw and defensive coordinator Todd Quick.

    He was awarded a scholarship to Texas A&M University where he was a four-year starter. He first played cornerback for the Aggies, then safety and linebacker. One of Dixon’s teammates was former CHS sports star L’Tydrick Riley.

    After graduating from A&M, Dixon said he had some opportunities in the NFL that didn’t pan out so he started working in the Aggies weight room for strength and conditioning coach Dave Kennedy.

    “That’s kind of what got my coaching itch-bug started,” said Dixon, who then returned to his high school alma mater as assistant football coach for Quick, who had moved up to head coach after Outlaw’s death.

    He remained at Lufkin for about five years before accepting a defensive coordinator position with 5A Dallas Molina.

    Dixon credits his high school coaches – Outlaw and Quick – for influencing his career choice. “ I don’t have any family ties to coaching. I think I got that coaching in me from those guys. They are my coaching family,” he said.

    Describing his coaching philosophy, Dixon said, “It’s discipline, commitment, loving each other, playing hard-nosed football most importantly, but we’re going to be very, very much a class-act. We’re going to have great character when we play the game.”

    Dixon said his decision regarding a run or pass oriented offense for the Bulldogs will be based on “what we have in the cupboards” personnel-wise.

    “I do know we have a great athlete at quarterback and I do know we have great speed so that all aligns to being able to spread it out a little. I’m not a guy who’s going to walk in and say you’ve got to do this, this and this. I’m a guy who says let’s evaluate what we have and let’s go for it like that,” he said.

    Starting his career at Lufkin under coach Quick, Dixon said he learned the “fundamental ways” of defense.

    “We started with the basics of a 4-3 defense. But here in Crockett we have such great speed I believe we’re going to be able to continue what coach (Gary) Grubbs has done with the 3-4 defense. I really love the speed that we have and I love his premise and philosophy. I think we’re going to blend very well. He’s done a really good job of having a solid foundation of defense so we’re going to carry on, but very similar to what we’re going to do on offense.”

    Once Dixon gets settled in, he plans for the Bulldogs to participate in 7-on-7 and have them competing in a higher bracket this year. “We want to play a more competitive bracket with 5A-6A early on and then get into an SQT in the 3A-4A bracket,” he noted. “We know what kind of children we have. We have the kind that other people would pray to have.”

    A summer strength and conditioning program is also planned and some of the junior athletes will attend football recruiting camps to prepare for their senior seasons. “From there we’ll move into fall camp pace,” he said.

    Dixon has always been impressed with Crockett’s rich athletic tradition.

    “It’s always been tradition-rich. I know the kind of athletes that come out of here. I know the story of the Crockett Rocket (Claude Riley) and I know L’Tydrick Riley. I know all those Rileys. It’s East Texas. Smells like home, feels like home. Ain’t nothing like being in God’s country. We build a certain brand of boy and girl out here, a certain brand of woman and man. I think these children are a special cut from Texas, I really do.”

    Regarding the high amount of interest the position generated, Crockett ISD Supt. John Emerich said applications continued to trickle in after the cutoff two weeks ago.

    “I think that’s a testament to what people think Crockett is and can be,” Emerich said of the 300-plus applicants. “I had lots of folks to choose from and it was a pretty difficult process. I went through every single application and read those.”

    Emerich said he received a number of calls recommending various coaches for the position.

    “But this man (Dixon) was actually not one of those that was recommended to me. There was something about his application that stuck out to me,” said Emerich.

    “I narrowed it down to 18 and interviewed them. Then I narrowed it down to five finalists that I brought in and talked to them more extensively. This guy (Dixon) just kept rising to the top after that whole process. I think this is the right fit for me, which means it’s the right fit for Crockett, for our kids and our community. I really think he’s going to be a good partner of mine in helping to fulfill the mission that I’d like to see happen here in Crockett. I think we share the same vision on that kind of thing,” he continued.

    Emerich said in closing, “I’m excited. I’m excited for our kids here, Crockett ISD and for the community. This man is just what we needed here. I think he’s going to be the key to helping us get to the next level. You know what we have here naturally and if we tweak a few things I think we can really see some different results. This is the man to help us do that. That’s why I brought him forward to the board. It seemed like the board thought that way too last night after they met him. We’re excited to see what he’s going to do here.”

    Dixon summed up, “I am very grateful to Mr. Emerich. It wasn’t easy. He made me sweat a little bit during the process and pressed me really hard. I think he saw my heart and saw my passion, and I think that’s how we got here today.

    “I’m looking forward to meeting members of the community. They are going to get my best at all times and I have nothing but their child’s success on my mind. I look forward to being out in the community and building up great relationships and building and enhancing our great traditions that we have here. Go Bulldogs. Go Big Blue.”

  • Eagles fly past Trojans, 41-28

    KentreveyionPOP28p2COURTESY PHOTO The Trojans’ season came to an end last Thursday with a 41-28 playoff loss to Woodville.

    By Jason Chlapek

    CROCKETT – Ken Stanley had a hunch that the Coldspring-Oakhurst football team would have its hands full with Woodville last Thursday.

    The head coach of the Trojans proved to be right. The Eagles used a balanced offensive attack and took advantage of a handful of Coldspring turnovers as they soared past the Trojans, 41-28, in a Class 3A-Division I bi-district contest at Monte Jack Driskell Stadium in Crockett.

    “It was one of those tough nights where once we would get something going, we couldn’t get a stop or something wouldn’t go our way,” Stanley said. “It is what it is. We have to make plays and they made more than we did.”

    Coldspring finished the season 8-3. Woodville (8-2) advanced to the area round where it faces Columbus at 7 p.m. Friday at Merrill Green Stadium in Bryan.

    Last week’s playoff contest was a role reversal from two years ago albeit with the same end result. In 2018, the Eagles were the champions of District 12-3A-DI and defeated the Trojans, 34-7, in the bi-district round.

    Coldspring was the fourth-place team out of 11-3A-DI and operated out of the spread offensively. Woodville ran the double-wing offense in 2018.

    This season, the Trojans ran the double-wing and won 9-3A-DI, while the Eagles operate out of the spread and were the No. 4 seed out of 10-3A-DI. However, Woodville was in a three-way tie for second with Anahuac and Buna, but was the No. 4 seed because of a points tiebreaker.

    “We knew they were pretty good and we had a pretty good game plan going in, but we didn’t anticipate a three-and-out or fumbling the ball,” Stanley said. “We were doing what we wanted to do, we were running the ball and moving the chains, but when we put the ball on the ground, we had to get in the spread and we were able to get some big plays out of that.”

    A three-and-out and a lost fumble on Coldspring’s first two offensive drives led to a pair of Darrius Bean-to-Jaylen Kibble touchdown passes that put the Eagles up 13-0 midway through the first quarter. A second lost fumble on the Trojans’ third drive had Woodville smelling blood and gunning for a bigger lead, but Luke Monroe intercepted a Bean pass in the endzone on the opening play of the second quarter to give Coldspring possession at its own 20-yard line.

    The Trojans needed just six plays to get on the scoreboard. Contavious Parker-Harden received a pitch from quarterback Duke Lawniczak, cut to his right and ran through a hole made by the offensive line for a 61-yard touchdown run that cut the Eagles’ lead to 13-7.

    But Woodville answered. Bean connected with Jacory Hyder for a touchdown pass and Pop Prejean added the two-point conversion run to increase the Eagles’ lead to 21-7. Coldspring drove to the Woodville 8 as time expired on the first half behind Lawniczak completing passes to Tavaress Chambers and Dante Eldridge.

    After blocking a punt on the opening drive of the third quarter, the Trojans set up shop at the Eagles’ 27. Lawniczak connected with Parker-Harden for 18 yards before the senior running back had an 8-yard run to the 1, the drive-capping 1-yard score and the two-point conversion run to trim the Coldspring deficit to 21-15.

    The Trojans appeared to have caught a huge break when Bean threw his second interception of the night. But a fumble during the interception return was recovered by Woodville, and the Eagles responded with the first of Prejean’s three touchdown runs to increase their lead to 28-15.

    Woodville struck again following a Coldspring interception as Prejean added a second touchdown run to give the Eagles their biggest lead of the night, 35-15, midway through the third quarter. Lawniczak scored on a 27-yard run to trim the Trojans’ deficit to 35-22.

    Following a Woodville punt early in the fourth quarter, Lawniczak threw a pass that was deflected twice before being hauled in by Eldridge in the end zone for a 37-yard touchdown that pulled Coldspring within seven, 35-28, with less than nine minutes in the contest. But Prejean took over from there.

    The Woodville junior ran the ball 10 times on the 12-play drive, including the drive-capping 7-yard touchdown run. Prejean ran for 138 yards in the second half.

    “They kept moving the chains, picking up first downs and scoring,” Stanley said of Woodville. “Tip your hat to them.”

    Parker-Harden ran for 155 yards and two touchdowns, while Lawniczak completed six passes for 122 yards and a score, while rushing for a touchdown. Eldridge caught two passes for 54 yards and a touchdown, while Greg Terry ran for 48 yards and caught a 35-yard pass.

    “We had 10 seniors and they all played,” Stanley said. “They’re good kids and we’re going to miss them. We hope to get some of them to sign.” 

    Eldridge, Lawniczak, Parker-Harden and Terry were four of the 10 seniors who suited up on the gridiron for Coldspring for the last time. The others were Bobby Bishop, Joseph Lemon, Matt Martinez, Caleb Monroe, Reagan Roberts and Trevor Vaughn.

  • Fiddling champ to appear at Camp Street

    Ridge Fiddler 052021COURTESY PHOTO Ridge Roberts

    By Chris Edwards

    CROCKETT – With the availability of live music returning to the hungry ears of the public as the threat of COVID wanes, Camp Street Café has a couple of shows lined up for the remainder of May, and this weekend the venue will host a world-class fiddler.

    Ridge Roberts, a 17-year-old North Texas native who won the World Champion Fiddler title in 2018 in Crockett, will play his album release show at Camp Street on Saturday. The show begins at 8 p.m. The album he is promoting is titled Lone Star Fiddler and was recorded last year in Nashville.

    According to Roberts’s bio on his official website, the album “pays homage to his deep Texas roots….and gives a big tip of the hat to the musical pioneers and legends of the past.” Roberts has been fiddling since he was seven years old, when his father, John, taught him the basics.

    Along the way, he soaked up and researched fiddle tunes and the styles of the old masters of Texas fiddling.

    Roberts will be joined on Saturday’s show by two special guests, Matthew Mefford and Joey McKenzie. McKenzie, a guitarist, appears on the album, and helped mentor the young fiddler.

    McKenzie spoke about Roberts’ musical growth as a singer, songwriter and guitarist, to add to his virtuoso fiddle work. “With all he’s been up to, it’s easy to forget that he’s only 17 and is just getting started in his musical life,” McKenzie said. “Ridge is also becoming a fine guitar player, singer and songwriter.”

    The instrumental album features many old-time Texas fiddle standards, like “Sally Goodin” and was produced by McKenzie.

    Although he is, as McKenzie stated, “getting started” on a new phase of his musical development with having an album available, Roberts is no stranger to playing live. He has been performing for audiences since he was nine-years-old, when civic organizations in Granbury asked him to play at their meetings. In 2013, when he was 10, he won his first contest, and has won many since then, including the National Twin Fiddle Championship and Junior World Champion. He has also filled the fiddle role in the band the Western Flyers, a Western swing/traditional country band.

    According to his bio, the young Granbury-based musician continues to hone his musical gifts and plans to

    continue his musical career after graduating high school.

    In an interview for a feature story published last year, Roberts said he does not think of himself as a “big thing,” but attributes his talents as “a huge blessing from God, for sure.”