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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.”

  • Broadband project sees some funding

    3 NEWS Broadband GraphicGraphic courtesy of Pixabay

    By Chris Edwards

    LUFKIN – A project that has been three years in the making for the Deep East Texas Council of Governments (DETCOG) moved from the planning stages into one signaled by a green light.

    Broadband funding for the 12-county East Texas region that DETCOG services has been high on the council’s list of priorities since 2018, and last Thursday, a chunk of a $32 million round of General Land Office funding for various projects will be allocated toward a broadband project in northern Newton County.

    “We are thrilled to learn that our grant application to construct a rural broadband network in northern Newton County has been approved,” Lonnie Hunt, DETCOG’s Executive Director, said.

    He called the Newton project’s funding award “a significant step toward realizing our ultimate goal of ensuring every home and business in Deep East Texas has reliable and affordable broadband.”

    The project claims $9,008,688 of the overall pie, and Hunt said that DETCOG is awaiting word on another larger grant application, which if approved, would enable the agency to construct a rural broadband network in all 12 member counties.

    “It’s very, very doable,” he said last week on a conference call before the Nacogdoches County Chamber of Commerce Stakeholders and added that the larger grant application may take a couple of months.

    Hunt described the project as intimidating, even scary, when DETCOG first began the initiative in early 2018, but now it is a must. “It must be done here in Deep East Texas,” he said.

    All of the DETCOG member counties signed resolutions in support of the initiative. The Newton County-specific request came from funding after flooding in 2016. The other grant DETCOG is awaiting an answer on is from the GLO’s Hurricane Harvey recovery funds.

    Hunt acknowledged the state legislature, which has placed priority on broadband access throughout the region.

    Senator Robert Nichols (R-Jacksonville) and Representative Trent Ashby (R-Lufkin) filed identical bills in the Senate and House (SB 506 and HB 1446) to address the issue by forming a state broadband office, creating a comprehensive statewide plan and identifying which areas have the greatest need.

    Hunt said that broadband access is a big project, which will take time to complete. With the Newton project, he said a contract will have to be put in place with the GLO, and then there is additional engineering work and environmental assessments before any construction can begin.

    “We will move as quickly as we can but will also take the time to make sure this project is done right. Since we began the DETCOG broadband initiative three years ago, we have sought out the best experts available to make sure we have a solid plan that will be successful. We already have our engineering and grants management teams in place and ready to start once we have a contract in place,” he said.

  • 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.

  • Centerville boys win 20-2A title, Groveton takes second

    IMG 2695Larry Lamb | HCC Lovelady’s Shaun Easterling took district titles in the 100 and 300 meter hurdles during the District 20-2A Track and Field Meet at Centerville recently.

    By Larry Lamb

    The Centerville Tigers hosted the District 20-2A track meet and claimed the varsity boys championship during competition that required an extra day to complete due to inclement weather.

    The Tigers racked up 181 points to claim the title by a comfortable margin over Groveton, which tallied 135.5 points. The Lovelady Lions were hot on the Indians’ heels with 134 points followed by Grapeland (66), Jewett Leon (46.5), Latexo (30) and Slocum (0.

    Field events, running prelims and 3200-meter races took place Monday, April 5 at Tiger Stadium. Athletes returned Thursday for the running finals at 6 p.m. but just over an hour into the session threatening weather prompted meet officials to call a 30-minute lightning delay. Subsequent threatening weather in the area forced the delay to be extended and eventually the remaining six events were postponed until Friday morning.

    The top four finishers in each event advanced to the area meet Thursday in Madisonville. The top four performers at area qualify for the Class 2A Region III meet April 23-24 at Palestine High School.

    Results of the district meet are as follows:

    District 20-2A Track Meet

    Monday, April 5 - Thursday, April 8 - Friday, April 9

    Varsity Boys

    Team Standings- 1, Centerville 181. 2, Groveton, 135.5. 3, Lovelady, 134. 4, Grapeland 66. 5, Jewett Leon 46.5. 6, Latexo 30. 7. Slocum 0.

    Running Events

    100 dash – B. J. Lamb, Grapeland, 10.94. 2, Kaden Dunn, Centerville, 11.10. 3, T. Cornett, Leon, 11.32. 4, Ashton Hargrove, Latexo, 11.47. 5, Phoenix Bowman, Groveton, 11.57. 6, D. Watson, Leon, 11.57.

    200 dash – 1, T. Cornett, Leon, 22.30. 2, Cadarian Wiley, Grapeland, 22.82. 3, Ashton Hargrove, Latexo, 22.83. 4, Andrew Newman, Centerville, 23.12. 5, D. Watson, Leon, 23.41. 6, Angel Villareal, Centerville, 23.50.

    400 dash - 1, Donivan Moehr, Centerville, 50.97. 2, Dillon Denman, Centerville, 54.68. 3, Haden Lee, Groveton, 54.78. 4, Jackson Jefferies, Lovelady, 54.90. 5, James Williams, Groveton, 56.68.6, Halston French, Centerville, 56.75.

    800 run – 1, Kasen Jeitz, Centerville, 1:59.18. 2, Joel Pomeroy, Lovelady, 2:11.61. 3, Haden Lee, Groveton, 2:13.62.4, Luke Carter, Centerville, 2:17.11. 5, Blake Patrick, Lovelady, 2:18.00. 6, Cyris Gray, Centerville, 2:18.02.

    1600 run – Logan Ray, Latexo, 5:16.11. 2, Jarrett Loftin, Groveton, 5:21.59. 3, Luke Carter, Centerville, 5:22.02. 4, Enrique Cruz, Centerville, 5:23.21. 5, Cyrus Gray, Centerville, 5:23.34. 6, Caden Alexander, Groveton, 5:26.56.

    3200 run – 1. Logan Ray, Latexo, 11:44. 2, Jarrett Loftin, Groveton, 11:52. 3, Cyris Gray, Centerville, 11:53. 4, Luke Carter, Centerville, 11:54. 5, Caden Alexander, Groveton, 12:07. 6, Enrique Cruz, Centerville, 12:12

    110 hurdles – 1, Shaun Easterling, Lovelady, 15.34. 2, Brett Wagnon, Centerville, 16.84. 3, Bradi Minter, Centerville, 18.15. 4, King Jones, Groveton, 18.56. 5, Ian Utz, Groveton, 19.18. 6, Tyler Stanford, Centerville, 19.46.

    300 hurdles – 1, Shaun Easterling, Lovelady, 42.28. 2, Brett Wagnon, Centerville, 42.37. 3, Karter Kornegay, Centerville, 43.75. 4, King Jones, Groveton, 45.37. 5, Tuff Reynolds, Groveton, 46.34. 6, Brandon Fry, Lovelady, 52.05.

    4x100 relay – Grapeland (Riley Murchison, Cadarian Wiley, Lekarian Smith, B.J. Lamb), 44.60. 2, Centerville (French, Newman, Kornegay, Moehr), 44.61. 3, Groveton (Phoenix Bowman, Byron Thomas, David Ayala, Malachi Stewart), 45.31. 4, Lovelady (Conner Martinez, Cole Harris, Slade Murray, Keivon Skinner), 45.85.

    4x200 relay – Leon (Leggett, Noey, Watson, Cornett), 1:34.99. 2, Groveton (Navid Pat, Bryon Thomas, David Ayala, Malachi Stewart), 1:36.88. 3, Centerville (Roberts, Newman, Villareal, White), 1:36.88. 4, Lovelady (Conner Martinez, Cole Harris, Slade Murray, Keivon Skinner), 1:37.12.

    4x400 relay – 1, Centerville (Jeitz, Denman, White, Moehr), 3:32.62. 2, Lovelady (Joel Pomeroy, Keivon Skinner, Shaun Easterling, Cole Harris), 3:36.84. 3, Groveton (David Ayala, Navid Pat, Chase Blair, Haden Lee), 3:47.52.

    Field Events

    Long Jump- 1, B.J. Lamb, Grapeland, 20-10 ¾. 2, Keivon Skinner, Lovelady, 19-6 ½. 3, T, Cornett, Leon, 19-5. 4, Halston French, Centerville, 18-5 ¼. 5, Andrew Newman, Centerville, 18-4 ¾. 6, James Williams, Groveton, 17-9 ¾.

    Shot put – 1, Tyler Allen, Groveton, 40-2. 2, Jabez Fills, Centerville, 38-2. 3, Levodrick Phillips, Centerville, 36-6. 4, Jason DeCluette, Grapeland, 35-10 ½. 5, B.J. Kelly, Centerville, 35-4. 6, Dayvian Skinner, Lovelady, 35-2 ½.

    Discus – 1, Eric Castillo, Lovelady, 112-4. 2, Shaun Easterling, Lovelady, 110-10 ½. 3, Tyler Allen, Groveton, 99-10 ½. 4, Jason DeCluette, Grapeland, 99-0. 5, Dayvian Skinner, Lovelady, 91-2 ½. 6, Holley Zantayl, Centerville, 90-2.

    Triple jump – 1, Riley Murchison, Grapeland, 39-0. 2, Slade Murray, Lovelady, 38-7. 3, Chase Blair, Groveton, 37-2 ½. 4, Navid Pat, Groveton, 37-1. 5, James Williams, Groveton, 36-11 ½. 6, T. Kirschner, Leon, 36-8.

    High jump – 1, Shaun Easterling, Lovelady, 5-10. 2, Keivon Skinner, Lovelady, 5’10. 3, Dillon Denman, Centerville, 5-8. 4, Malachi Stewart, Groveton, 5-8. 5, Chase Vycital, Groveton, 5-6.

    Pole vault – 1, Cole Harris. Lovelady, 11-6. 2, Dalton Chandler, Groveton, 10-0. 3, Haden Lee, Groveton, 9-0. 4, James Webb, Centerville, 8-6. 5, Jackson Jefferies, Lovelady, 8-6. 6, Brett Wagnon, Centerville, 8-6.

  • Chamber 2020 award winners recognized at banquet (GALLERY)

    IMG 8027ALTON PORTER | HCC Chamber Board Chairperson Carey Minter and Executive Director Liza Clark presented a Chairman’s Award of Excellence certificate to a representative of each member organization of the chamber.

    By Alton Porter

    Members of the Crockett Area Chamber of Commerce held their 2021 Membership Awards Banquet, themed “A Starry Night,” Tuesday, March 23, at which several chamber members, ambassadors, sponsors and volunteers were recognized for their support and service to the organization last year.

    2020 chamber awards presented at the banquet included Volunteer of the Year to William Clark; Ambassador of the Year to Carolyn McKnight, Crockett Economic & Industrial Development Corporation executive assistant; and Director of the Year to Carey Minter, who is chairperson of the chamber’s board of directors and Houston County Appraisal District chief appraiser.

    In addition, the chamber’s Citizen of the Year award went to Pastor Audice Leon Wallace, of Good Shepherd Fellowship Church and the Business of the Year award was presented to Good Shepherd Fellowship Church.

    New chamber members Tiffany Wiggins-Blackmon of Crockett Printing, Chip Miles of Styles by Miles and Joshua Hamelinck of Hamelinck Guns each were presented a Rising Star award, a new chamber award that recognizes outstanding businesses that joined the chamber in 2020.

    These award winners were also presented certificates of recognition Congressman Trent Ashby (R-Dist. 8) of the Texas House of Representatives.

    A Chairman’s Award of Excellence, another new chamber recognition certificate honoring chamber members for their outstanding service and contributions to the chamber, was presented to representatives of each member organization of the chamber.

    Minter also recognized former chamber board member and former Houston County Courier Managing Editor Toni Browning for the superb service and support she contributed to the chamber for many years before recently resigning from the chamber and Courier to relocate to Italy.

    The banquet also featured chamber fundraising auctions, raffle drawings, dinner prepared by chef Margaret Broughton and her staff, a video presentation about the Covid-19 pandemic and Governor Greg Abbott’s response to it, a moment of silence for persons who were impacted by the virus, an invocational prayer by Pastor Darryl Bennett of Eastgate Family Church and live music performed by East Texas artist Levi Kitchen.

    Crockett Medical Center was the event’s sponsor and the Piney Woods Leo youth organization, with advisor Ellen Brooks, served as event volunteers.

    IMG_7996
    ALTON PORTER | HCC Chamber Executive Director Liza Clark presented the Volunteer of the Year award to William Clark.
    IMG_7999
    ALTON PORTER | HCC Chamber board member Leanne Henson presented the Ambassador of the Year award to Carolyn McKnight.
    IMG_8003
    ALTON PORTER | HCC Chamber Executive Director Liza Clark presented the Director of the Year award to board of directors Chairperson Carey Minter.
    IMG_8011
    ALTON PORTER | HCC Chamber board member Greg Beaver presented a Rising Star award to Joshua Hamelinck.
    IMG_8015
    ALTON PORTER | HCC Chamber board member Greg Beaver presented a Rising Star award to Chip Miles.
    IMG_8021
    ALTON PORTER | HCC Chamber board member Andrea Hill presented the Citizen of the Year award to Pastor Audice Leon Wallace.
    IMG_8027

    ALTON PORTER | HCC Chamber Board Chairperson Carey Minter and Executive Director Liza Clark presented a Chairman’s Award of Excellence certificate to a representative of each member organization of…

    IMG_8030

    ALTON PORTER | HCC Chamber board member Carole Martin, right, presented the Business of the Year award to representatives of Good Shepherd Fellowship Church. Pictured, from left to right, are Najah…

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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.

  • 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.

  • Commissioners receive judge’s disaster declaration

    IMG 7549ALTON PORTER | HCC Houston County Judge Jim Lovell issued a Declaration of Local Disaster for the county in response to the recent severe winter storms that wreaked havoc on the county and the county’s commissioners voted to receive the declaration as information at a meeting held in person and via the Zoom video communications app Thursday morning.

    By Alton Porter

    Houston County was declared a disaster area by the county judge as a result of the major winter storms that wreaked havoc throughout the county a couple of weeks ago and the declaration was received by county commissioners.

    Saturday, Feb. 20, Judge Jim Lovell issued a seven-day Declaration of Local Disaster for the county. And five days later, at a meeting of the commissioners court, following explanations by Lovell and county Emergency Management Coordinator Heath Murff, the commissioners voted to pass a motion to receive as information the declaration.

    The declaration stated that “the County of Houston, on the 14 day of February, AD 2021 suffered widespread or severe damage, injury, or loss of life, with massive amounts of debris creating a public health threat (or there is imminent threat of same), resulting from the arrival of a major winter storm that has impacted Houston County and caused freezing temperatures, snow and ice accumulations.”

    It continued, the storm “essentially prevented access and safe passage on many roadways and caused long term electrical power and utility outages and major infrastructure and property damage thus creating a public safety hazard.”

    Because the county judge determined that extraordinary measures must be taken to alleviate the suffering of people and to protect or rehabilitate property, he declared the state of disaster.

    The declaration noted that the county’s emergency management plan was implemented, and “Whereas Section 418.108 of the Texas Disaster Act of 1975, as amended, Vernon’s Texas Codes Annotated, Government Code Chapter 418, provides that the state of disaster shall continue for a period of not more than seven days of the date hereof, unless the same is continued by consent of the Commissioner’s Court of the County of Houston, Texas.”

    In other business, the commissioners scheduled a public hearing for April 13, “regarding the Tax Abatement Agreement with Houston County and Lincoln Lumber Crockett, LLC, to modify or terminate the agreement and to consider entering a Tax Abatement Agreement with the City of Crockett and Lincoln Lumber Crockett, LLC.”

    The commissioners and Crockett city councilmembers approved a tax abatement agreement with Lincoln Lumber several weeks ago, and the Crockett officials later approved a related agreement that had been amended. County officials are now considering whether to terminate their original agreement and approve the amended one that was adopted by the city.

    “What happened is Houston County and Lincoln Lumber have a tax abatement agreement…,” said County Attorney Daphne Session. “That was approved in November of 2020 based on the application for a tax abatement.

    “The city entered or approved a tax abatement agreement in November of 2020 also with Lincoln Lumber. Then, Lincoln Lumber made some acquisitions and made some new purchases of land in the area.”

    The city did a new tax abatement agreement—modified the old one based on the acquisitions and new purchases—and approved it in January, Session said. “And the city would like the county to be included in their tax abatement because their tax abatement they approved is for the city of Crockett, for Houston County and Lincoln Lumber, which was not done here. We have our own agreement with Lincoln Lumber. They would like for the county to join their tax abatement agreement and have just one tax abatement agreement for all three.”

    The public hearing had to be set to modify or terminate the county’s current tax abatement agreement with Lincoln Lumber, Session said, adding, the city’s agreement and county’s agreement are very similar, with the exception of the addition of the acquisition of the new land by Lincoln Lumber on the city’s agreement.

    Lincoln Lumber is building a high-tech sawmill in the 200 block of West Austin Street and on two adjoining properties.

    In another action, the commissioners approved a new contract with Piney Woods Sanitation for solid waste collection service in unincorporated areas of the county.

    They voted to approve motions appointing commissioners Jimmy Henderson, Gene Stokes and Willie Kitchen to negotiate for right of way and construction/temporary easements in their precincts as necessary for the Texas Department of Transportation bridge improvement project.

    Henderson is to negotiate for easements on County Roads (CR) 1060 and 1050 for the Hickory Creek tributary, Stokes for easements on CR 3585 for the Wright Creek tributary and Kitchen for easements plus relocation of utilities on CR 2215, CR 2230 and CR 2120 for Little Elkhart Creek and Big Elkhart Creek tributaries.

    The commissioners received as information racial profiling reports from county law enforcement agencies and an audit report for the fiscal year ending 2020 for county Emergency Services District No. 2.

    They approved an order declaring an exemption from bidding necessary to preserve and protect the public health and safety of county residents as authorized under Local Government Code 262.024(a)(2).

    The commissioners voted to approve acceptance of a $2,000 donation from the city of Kennard for Precinct 4 and to authorize the making of necessary budget amendments.

    And the commissioners heard annual summary interpretation presentations of 2020 AgriLife Extension Service education programs given by Jo Smith and Tasha Brent, extension agents of the county’s Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, and Corey J. Hicks, of the Prairie View A&M University Cooperative Extension Program.

    During her presentation, Smith noted that the Houston County Fair and Youth Livestock Show is still one for late March and early April.

  • Covid-19 regional update

    N2103P48004CFILE PHOTO Covid-19

    By ETxN Staff

    Polk, San Jacinto, and Tyler Counties

    In the Trauma Service Area designated H, which includes Polk, San Jacinto and Tyler counties, the amount of hospital bed usage by COVID-19 patients is down to 10% as of Wednesday, April 21, according to figures from the state department of health services. 

    Of the ICU beds available, 14% are being used as of Wednesday by COVID-19 patients. 

    The figure for daily cases reported as of Wednesday was 13 and the cumulative totals for the trauma region are 11,591 cases reported since reporting began in 2020, and 698 total COVID-related fatalities.

    Since reporting of active cases ceased in early March, concurrent with the lifting of Gov. Greg Abbott’s mandate, Tyler County reported 1,213 total cases and 34 deaths since March of 2020 when the county’s first confirmed case was reported."

    Houston County

    According to emergency management coordinator Heath Murff, as of April 30, the total number of Covid vaccination doses that had been administered in the county was 10,431.

    He added, “6,500 of those have been first doses; 4,633 of those are fully vaccinated people.

    “Houston County Emergency Management has hosted three vaccinations clinics, and we have vaccinated 600 citizens.”

    Murff said DSHS staff members “used to give us information daily, as far as, how many cases we had, how many active cases we had, how many recoveries we had, all that kind of specific (information) for Houston County, and they quit doing that.”

    ET COVID CHART

    **More information for up-to-date numbers can be found at:

    https://txdshs.maps.arcgis.com/apps/dashboards/ed483ecd702b4298ab01e8b9cafc8b83

     

  • 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 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.