Log in
  • 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…

    Previous Next Play Pause
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

     

  • 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.”

  • ESD2 members elect new, continuing leaders

    IMG 7735ALTON PORTER | HCC Above, members of Houston County Emergency Services District No. 2, which supports and provides assistance to fire departments throughout the county, attended a monthly meeting in Crockett Thursday, Feb. 25, at which they elected officers to lead the district and its board of commissioners and at which they addressed other matters.

    By Alton Porter

    Members of Houston County Emergency Services District No. 2 (ESD2) have elected new and continuing leaders for the district’s board of commissioners following the reappointment and appointment last month of two ESD2 commissioners by members of the county’s commissioners court.

    The ESD2 members elected the board’s officers at a meeting Thursday, Feb. 25.

    Promoted to the position of ESD2 president is William Money, who had been serving as an ESD2 commissioner and who replaces former president George Crowson Jr., who was not reappointed to the ESD2 board by the commissioners court members last month.

    Elected to serve as ESD2 vice president is Steve Hawkins, who was appointed by the members of the commissioners court last month to replace Crowson as a commissioner on the ESD2 board. Hawkins was welcomed aboard ESD2 by the district’s members who were present. As vice president, he replaces former VP Bobby Hutcherson, who was reappointed by the members of the county commissioners court last month to continue serving on the ESD2 board but who stepped down from the VP position at the Feb. 25 meeting.

    Peggy Patrick, who had been serving as secretary-treasurer was reelected as treasurer only upon her request, and board member Roy Langford was elected to replace her as secretary.

    During public comments, Crowson, the ESD2 previous president, addressed the emergency services district members who were present.

    “In my recollection, as far as I can recall, this is my 224 meeting with the ESD of a 14-year period,” Crowson said. “To the fire departments, I want to tell you it’s been a pleasure, a privilege and an honor to serve on your behalf. What you guys do—not only what you do, but the passion with which you do it—it leaves me in awe. It truly, truly does.”

    Crowson noted that county Precinct 3 Commissioner Gene Stokes, of the commissioners court, was present at the meeting and that “out of those 224 meetings which we spoke of, this is only the second time that we’ve had a commissioner at one of our meetings in 14 years. And I think I can speak for the whole organization and say, ‘Thank you for being here’.”

    Stokes responded to Crowson saying, “We appreciate your service.”

    The former ESD2 president continued, “I’m assuming I’m not on the board. No one has shown me the courtesy to tell me that I was not, but I kind of picked it up on the airwaves there.

    “To the board, what I want to remind you of, and I hope you will think about this in every decision you make, is you are an independent political subdivision of the state of Texas. You cannot be beholden or subservient to any individual, any special interest group, any group of people of any kind, including the commissioners court. If you are, all taxing democracies will fail.”

    Crowson added, “The only people you are beholden to are the people that pay this ESD tax. It has served me well. If you will remind yourself of that in every decision that you make, I think you will continue to be successful.

    “This ESD is tremendously successful, at least in my opinion—not because of me, but because of the involvement of people and the (county’s fire) departments themselves. I know it is financially in good shape. And I know that through Mr. Stokes and all you other board members, it will continue to do that.

    IMG 7725ALTON PORTER | HCC Former President George Crowson Jr., of the Houston County Emergency Services District No. 2 (ESD2) Board of Commissioners, who was not reappointed to the ESD2 board earlier last month, addressed ESD2 members as he departed from the entity during a meeting in Crockett Thursday, Feb. 25.

    “It has been an honor and a privilege; I served at the pleasure of the commissioners court and it was no longer their pleasure. That’s perfectly fine; it is their option to do whichever they want to do.

    “I’ve enjoyed almost every moment of it. It’s been some moments that haven’t been so enjoyable, but that comes with the territory. But anyway, thank each of you for what you do.”

    After Crowson left the meeting, Money, the new ESD2 president, said, “He’s not here, but in my opinion from being on the other side of the table—he was on this side of the table—George has guided this board efficiently and diligently through a lot of stuff over the years, from helping get it started to getting it where it’s at.

    “And in my opinion, our directive change is none. We’re here to serve two priorities: the firefighters (of Houston County) and the taxpayers. And that is it. I may be the next one that goes after George, but that is how I look at it. … I will do my best to continue the direction of this board and keep it solid.”

    Among items requiring action, the ESD2 members voted to receive a $100 bid from Brijesh Patel, a member of the Kennard Independent School District Board of Trustees, to buy and remove, within 30 days, a building on the site on which they’re planning to have a fire station built in Ratcliff.

    The board members also had advertised via the Courier for bids for the laying of a six-inch-thick concrete slab for $16,000 for the planned fire station building, but none had been received. So, the ESD2 members decided to seek out a construction company to perform this project.

    In other business, they tabled action regarding a contract between ESD2 and the city of Crockett. “The city of Crockett wanted to redo their contract with the ESD…,” Patrick said.

    Money explained, “When we formed ESD2, Crockett opted out of the vote. Kennard voted to not be in the ESD because they didn’t want (to pay) the extra tax. So, we’ve got Crockett and Kennard that are not members of the ESD….

    “Crockett has basically the biggest fire department in the county—covers the most area, covers everybody else’s back. We call it the gray area. So, we contract with Crockett. We pay them $70,000 a year to cover that area. We provide some trucks for Crockett and provide them service and help.

    “So, Crockett covers the gray area and that works to try to keep the ISO, which is the insurance rate, in those areas down. So, we contract with Crockett to cover that area. Crockett FD’s budget is $500,000-plus a year and we add them an additional $70,000 plus trucks or whatever we can afford to help them with to cover that area. We upped the rate and renegotiated with them. And so, we’re getting a new contract set up with them.”

    Chief Jason Frizzell, of the Crockett Fire Department, said he had emailed the city’s attorney, who is reviewing and possibly making adjustments to the contract, and he was waiting to hear back from the lawyer.

  • Fisher declared re-elected as mayor

    2 Mayor Fisher 031621ALTON PORTER | HCC Crockett’s re-elected mayor Dr. Ianthia Fisher presides over Monday’s council meeting.

    By Alton Porter

    CROCKETT – Dr. Ianthia Fisher has been declared re-elected as Crockett’s mayor in a city council resolution. She was unopposed in her bid to continue serving as the city’s elected leader, a position to which she was initially elected in 2019.

    Fisher is one of two candidates who originally filed to run for mayor in the city’s Saturday, May 1, election. However, the other candidate, James Jellum, withdrew from the race before ballots were printed, according to City Secretary Mitzi Thompson. Therefore, members of the city council voted to approve a document of certification of Fisher as an unopposed candidate for mayor, an at-large position, at a meeting on Monday, March 15.

    After approving the city certification of unopposed candidate for mayor, the councilmembers, in a related action, voted to approve a resolution authorizing cancelling the election of mayor in the scheduled May 1 election.

    The resolution also states that only one eligible candidate, Fisher, had filed to run for mayor and had not withdrawn by the Feb. 12 deadline “and hereby declares the unopposed candidate (Fisher) elected to office and shall be issued Certificate of Election following the time the election will be canvassed.”

    In another election-related matter, the councilmembers voted to approve a resolution, appointing election officials for the regular general election, setting the rate of pay for the election officials and the maximum number of election clerks for the polling places, and designating the early voting ballot board.

    Also, in preparation for the municipal election, the councilmembers approved designation of two deputy early voting clerks, who are “authorized to perform any duties which are assigned by me in the performance of conducting early voting,” wrote Thompson, who also is the early voting clerk, in the designation document.

    Council seats up for election in the May 1 election are those for City Precincts 1 and 2. Candidates for the Precinct 1 position are incumbent Butch Calvert, Gene Caldwell and Samantha Wiley. Precinct 2 seat candidates are incumbent Darrell Jones, Charles Clawson and Vicki Cox.

    On election day, polls for the councilmember elections will be open 7 a.m.-7 p.m. Election day polling places are: Precinct 1, All Saints Episcopal Church Annex, 1301 E. Houston Ave.; and Precinct 2, Crockett Fire Station, 201 N. 6th St.

    Early voting by in-person appearance will be conducted at Crockett City Hall, 200 N. 5th St., April 19-23, 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m., and April 26-27, 7 a.m.-7 p.m.

    Applications for ballots by mail should be mailed to Mitzi Thompson, City Secretary, 200 N. 5th St., Crockett, Texas, 75835, and must be received in the secretary’s office no later than by the close of business Tuesday, April 20.

    In other business, the councilmembers voted to approve an ordinance, temporarily reducing the speed limit from 55 mph to 45 mph for motor vehicles being driven in either direction on State Loop 304 between State Highway 19 and SH 7, while much of that section of the loop is under construction.

    The councilmembers also discussed city facility operations and current COVID-19 measures. “Basically, what the city is doing is there are certain facilities that we do have control over,” said Fisher.

    “And as far as the city facilities, they’re going to remain pretty much stable, recognizing the CDC guidelines that they already have,” she added.

    There’s no limit on the size of gatherings “unless we run into a problem and they (users of city facilities) can’t ensure their safety,” Fisher said. “If it presents a problem where people were saying it was so congested, then we will have to readdress it and set a cap on it.

    “But right now, everyone that has basically used the facility—even for concerts—have been so mindful of being able to respect the safety of others. So, we haven’t had that problem; we don’t anticipate having that problem. But in case we do, we will be able to readdress it and be willing to put a cap (on gatherings at the facilities) if it has to be.”

    The mayor added, “But we are asking that you (users of the facilities) maintain the safety guidelines. Whatever your percentage should be, it should be in accordance with what you can do—staying within the guidelines.

    “And then the other part of it (the mayor and councilmembers approach) is that we did ask the city (staffers) to take into consideration the CDC guidelines. And even though the (former) mask mandate isn’t in effect anymore it is important that we still continue to protect ourselves to the best of our ability. And that’s a simple way with the basic guidelines: washing our hands, wearing masks, social distancing and those kinds of things.”

    Summer Fun Day planned

    During Police Chief Clayton Smith’s regular report, he said the police department is planning a Summer Fun Day event to be held Saturday, June 5, if allowed by COVID protocols and depending on what is going on at that time. “We haven’t been able to have a community event in a while because of Covid and everything going on,” said Smith.

    He noted, June 5 is during “the first weekend that the kids are out of school,” and added, plans are to have the event in Davy Crockett Memorial Park with waterslides, possibly around the splash pad, and event planners are “just trying to get all the kids out to have fun.”

  • Grapeland boys win playoff opener

    IMG 0874LARRY LAMB | HCC Besides putting on a three-point clinic, senior B. J. Lamb dazzled fans when he slammed the ball home during the Sandies’ 87-68 bi-district win over Frankston.

    By Larry Lamb

    “Lose-the-flip-win-the game.”

    That hashtag posted on social media became the battle cry for the Grapeland Sandies going into their bi-district game against Frankston on Saturday, Feb. 20.

    After plans to play the game at Rusk fell through due to weather-related issues, the two schools agreed on flipping for home-and-home.

    Frankston won the coin toss but home court advantage was not enough for the Indians to overcome the No. 3 ranked Sandies, who prevailed 87-68.

    The Sandies jumped out to an 11-2 lead but after Frankston cut the lead to two, the Sandies closed out the quarter with a 13-6 run.

    Led by senior B.J. Lamb’s five-of-five trey barrage, the Sandies pulled away to lead 29-20 at the end of the first.

    The Trinity Valley Community College football recruit dazzled fans when he stole the ball and raced down the floor for a slam dunk.

    Then Lamb drilled a three-pointer at the buzzer to boost his first quarter total to 17 points and give the Sandies a nine-point lead.

    Although his family’s home was destroyed by fire earlier in the week, Lamb was able to overcome adversity and focus on the game.

    Lamb, who finished the night with seven treys, booked a game-high 33 points and 11 assists to attain double-double status.

    Frankston stayed close early in the second period but saw the Sandies rattle off a 21-5 run in the final five minutes of the half to pull away 54-32.

    After Grapeland took its biggest lead of 30 points early in the third, Frankston answered with a 13-2 flurry to get within 19.

    The Sandies answered with a big run, however, to push their lead out to 73-49 heading into the final period.

    The Indians stayed alive with another 13-2 run that whittled the gap down to 75-62 with 3:40 left.

    But Frankston’s hopes of a miracle finish evaporated with a 12-6 run by the Sandies down the stretch.

    Two other Sandies joined Lamb with double-doubles.

    Cadarian Wiley was right behind him with 32 points and 12 rebounds.

    Wiley scored six in the first quarter, 10 in the second and eight in each of the last two frames.

    Keizion Ashford buried three treys and tallied 12 points along with 10 assists.

    Riley Murchison contributed six points on a pair of treys, Omarian Wiley chipped in four and Michael Dancer had two.

    In an earlier bi-district game in the Frankston gym, top-ranked Martin’s Mill defeated Lovelady 90-41.

    Fans were already speculating about a possible third round clash pitting the Sandies and Martin’s Mill.

    Grapeland defeated Mart 74-44 in the area round and Martin’s Mill edged Rosebud-Lott 59-42 to set up a showdown in the regional quarterfinals Saturday, Feb. 27 in Frankston.