Banner Top

Log in
updated 9:21 AM, Oct 22, 2020 America/Chicago

Houston County

Houston County Lifestyle

Crockett library eagerly reopens with book sale

Health care and other fair workers prepare to treat participants at the 11th Annual Community Health Fair sponsored by the Crockett-Palestine Resource Centers for Independent Living on the Crockett Civic Center parking lot Friday morning, Sept. 25. This year’s fair was held in a unique way, as fair participants wore facemasks and remained in their vehicles—because of the COVID-19 pandemic—as they drove through the parking lot and were administered flu shots and several free health screenings and were given food samples and door prizes. (PHOTO BY LIZA CLARK)Health care and other fair workers prepare to treat participants at the 11th Annual Community Health Fair sponsored by the Crockett-Palestine Resource Centers for Independent Living on the Crockett Civic Center parking lot Friday morning, Sept. 25. This year’s fair was held in a unique way, as fair participants wore facemasks and remained in their vehicles—because of the COVID-19 pandemic—as they drove through the parking lot and were administered flu shots and several free health screenings and were given food samples and door prizes. (PHOTO BY LIZA CLARK)

BY TONI BROWNING

Managing Editor
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The J. H. Wootters Crockett Public Library has announced it will open its doors to public walk-in service today, Oct. 1. March brought about COVID-19 concerns along with employee and visitor safety issues.  In response, the library stopped public access to its environs but compensated by offering door-to-vehicle book delivery.

Assistant Library Director Robin Smetana announced, “Everyone at the library is ready to welcome the public back inside its doors. We miss seeing people in our building. 

“Not only are we inviting the public back in, we are having a huge book sale! We have so many books for sale.”

The book sale is located in a sectioned off room and there are some books for the kids in the children’s reading area. Bring a bag or a box to fill up. This is a great opportunity to purchase low cost books, books that will keep you entertained during the winter months to come.

Library Director James Sutton and Smetana decided early on to continue serving the public by offering low contact book delivery and free internet access in the library’s parking lot.

Patrons were able to access the library’s impressive catalog of books and DVD’s online. After making a decision on a book or two, library card holders could order, online or by phone, the books they wanted to check out. Library personnel delivered the books to the card holders’ vehicle in the parking lot. 

Smetana, who is also the children’s librarian, continues to order new books for interested readers. The children’s reading area has been smartened up, fully stocked and is ready to receive friendly readers once again. Children in-person activities remain unavailable.

Smetana told the Courier that all sanitizing safety precautions are being made. She said, “We are asking everyone to wear a mask, utilize the huge container of hand sanitizer as you enter and exit and keep in mind social distancing as you browse around.

“We have ordered new furniture to house our public computers. We are using what we have to social distance the computers but do not have enough desks, as of yet, to display all of our available computers.”

Adults can use the public computers for a time limit of one hour per day. The computers will be sanitized by a library employee between users. 

Anyone entering the library is asked to keep their visit to one hour and to return books to the outside drop box so the librarians can continue to quarantine them before reshelving.

The library is located at 709 E Houston and is open Monday, Tuesday and Thursday 8:30 a.m. – 7 p.m.; Wednesday 8:30 a.m. – 5 p.m. and Saturday 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. The library is closed on Sunday and Friday. For more information call 936-544-3089.

Homecoming Royalty

Crockett Homecoming KingQueen

Crockett High School Homecoming King Nathan Gonzales and Queen Kalli Sherman beam after being crowned during a ceremony preceding the Bulldogs’ football game Friday in Driskell Stadium. The 2020 Ring of Honor induction ceremony kicked off homecoming night and the Bulldogs capped off the festivities with a 49-0 victory over Elkhart. (LARRY LAMB|HCC PHOTO)

CERT members deliver face masks to business owners

Employees of the Houston County Courier joined Managing Editor Toni Browning, a CERT member to deliver facial masks to Crockett businesses. Pictured from the left are Ashley Keenan, Brandy Jones and Toni Browning. ( ALTON PORTER|HCC PHOTO)Employees of the Houston County Courier joined Managing Editor Toni Browning, a CERT member to deliver facial masks to Crockett businesses. Pictured from the left are Ashley Keenan, Brandy Jones and Toni Browning. ( ALTON PORTER|HCC PHOTO)

BY TONI BROWNING
Managing Editor

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The City of Crockett Mayor, Dr. Ianthia Fisher, and Crockett City Administrator, John Angerstein developed the Crockett Economic Recovery Taskforce (CERT) in late April. This group is endeavoring to help Crockett merchants reopen their businesses and recover from the impact COVID-19 has had on their revenue.

Members of this group are Dr. Fisher, Angerstein, James Gentry – Crockett Economic Development Corp. (CEIDC), John Emerich – Crockett Independent School Superintendent and Education Representative, Tim Allen – Representative for Churches and Non-profit Organizations, Sheila Ryman – Bank and Finance Representative,  Dr. Christopher Haeckler – City Health Officer and Health/Hospital Representative, Liza Clark – Crockett Area Chamber of Commerce Representative, Lezlie King – Small Business Representative, Toni Browning – Media and Communications Representative and Wade Thomas – Small Business Representative.

The group has been meeting regularly and has been making plans to promote local shopping and growth within Crockett. 

One plan developed by CERT consisted of employing a local company, Earl’s Apparel, to create face masks that could be handed out to local businesses, at no charge. The owners could then give a free facial mask to anyone entering their site. Most businesses in Crockett have signs on their doors asking anyone that enters to don a mask as they want to protect their employees from the potential spread of the Coronavirus.

The CERT group was able to obtain monies from the City of Crockett to pay for the masks. The city of Crockett has received a grant from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act and is able to use some of the money received to help pay for the face masks.

On Friday, Aug. 21, Angerstein recruited several members from CERT to deliver the masks to business owners. The masks are a red plaid color and have a tab proudly stating that the masks were made in the USA. Business owners were happy to receive the face masks and look forward to future CERT endeavors.

Employees from the Houston County Courier helped to deliver the masks. 

40 Crockett businesses assisted by economic taskforce

Many local businesses, like others across the state and nation, were severely financially impacted as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The recently appointed Crockett Economic Recovery Taskforce established a Small Business Relief Fund and presented $500 checks to 40 small businesses in the city that experienced losses caused by the pandemic in an effort to assist them in recovering. Above, James Gentry, center, a member of the taskforce presented checks to two of the business owners, Regina Tillis, of Chuckwagon Grill, and W.L. Tillis, of Tillis Tire & Detail. (Courtesy Photo)Many local businesses, like others across the state and nation, were severely financially impacted as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The recently appointed Crockett Economic Recovery Taskforce established a Small Business Relief Fund and presented $500 checks to 40 small businesses in the city that experienced losses caused by the pandemic in an effort to assist them in recovering. Above, James Gentry, center, a member of the taskforce presented checks to two of the business owners, Regina Tillis, of Chuckwagon Grill, and W.L. Tillis, of Tillis Tire & Detail. (Courtesy Photo)

By Alton Porter
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Forty Crockett small businesses that have been economically impacted as a result of the new coronavirus pandemic have received a bit of financial assistance thanks to efforts of the recently established Crockett Economic Recovery Taskforce.

The businesses were presented $500 each from a Small Business Relief Fund that was established by representatives of the city of Crockett, the Crockett Economic & Industrial Development Corporation (CEIDC) and the Crockett Area Chamber of Commerce with oversight from the taskforce to assist small businesses in offsetting some of the losses they incurred as a result of the pandemic, according to the three heads of the program.

Those leaders are Executive Director James Gentry, of the CEIDC, which managed the fund; Crockett City Administrator John Angerstein; and Executive Director Liza Clark, of the chamber.

The taskforce members, including Gentry, Angerstein and Clark, were recently appointed by Mayor Dr. Ianthia Fisher, and the funds for the presentations to the small businesses were made possible by a $20,000 grant to be provided by the federal Coronavirus, Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act Coronavirus Relief Fund.

Gentry presented the $500 checks to representatives of the small businesses from CEIDC funds, and the CEIDC will be reimbursed by the federal government through representatives of Texas state government.

“We were able to allot $20,000 that the (CEIDC) board approved for me to utilize as part of a joint effort to reach out to the small businesses here with 10 employees or less to help them through this time,” Gentry said.

“Hopefully, when we turn our receipts in to the state, they’ll reimburse me for it. We said we would commit $20,000 to the program. In the meantime, we didn’t want to drag it out, so we chose to move forward with the program.

In a statement about the program, Angerstein stated, “This funding was provided by the CARES Act and passed on down to the states. The state then provided some of this funding to the city through the Coronavirus Relief Fund.

“At the beginning of this pandemic, the mayor organized an economic relief task force. This task force has been used to identify various needs of the city and of our local businesses. There was a lot of restrictions placed on cities and how this funding can be used, but a portion of it was able to be released in small business grants to some of our smallest businesses that potentially did not receive SBA (Small Business Administration) grants or other federal help.

“The mayor and I are just excited that we were able to pass some of this funding on to our businesses that needed it the most.”

In a separate statement, Clark stated, “providing this type of relief to all small businesses in Crockett was a passion project of mine as I watched chamber businesses suffer and some close since March. I have been working towards a relief package with the city since early May.

“Small businesses are the heartbeat of our community and COVID-19 has deeply impacted our economic health. Businesses are struggling to regain footing lost due to closures and/or reduced occupancy since March, and the Crockett Economic Recovery Task Force moved into action to help ease financial burdens.”

Clark added, “With the release of a portion of the Coronavirus Relief Fund, we were able to offer aid to those businesses that may not have applied for, or been denied, the EIDL (Economic Injury Disaster Loans) or SBA (Small Business Administration) loans and I can only hope that we were able to reach as many of those affected as possible. I think it was eye-opening to see the different professions that have suffered during Texas closures, and I only wish it could have been more dollars in their pockets.

“I have to thank CEIDC for allowing the grant checks to be delivered through their office and getting them out to our applicants. We do hope that more funds will become available so we can continue offering support as the business community gets back on their feet.”

As far as the distribution of the $500 checks was concerned, Gentry said, “We actually reviewed the project here (four) weeks ago and started distributing checks after the 15th of August. We were able to get everybody their check before the end of August. If the federal government and state see fit to give us more funding, we may even do more.

“I feel very good about it (the taskforce and the Small Business Relief Fund). We’re trying to accommodate or facilitate not only bringing businesses here, but we realize it’s important to retain the businesses that we have. And a lot of these are small businesses.”

Gentry said the businessowners and other representatives who received the assistance “were quite appreciative of it.

“We wanted to give as much as we could to as many as we could. That’s why we ended up doing the $500 this time. We want to help our community in whatever ways we can. And from an economic development standpoint, we realize that it’s all about the prosperity of our community as whole. And whatever ways we can do to enhance that prosperity, we’re going to be a party to that.”

Crockett residents receive new homes

CrockettNewHomes

Six Crockett residents are the proud recipients of four new homes built for them free-of charge under the auspices of the recently established City of Crockett HOME program that partnered with the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs and the US Department of Housing and Urban Development to fund and administer the construction of the homes. Representatives of GrantWorks, Inc., a grant management firm, assisted Crockett officials in managing the construction of the homes. Above, two of the new home recipients—Jessie Laverne Owens, second from left, and Ethel Sherman, third from left—are joined by Mayor Dr. Ianthia Fisher and City Administrator John Angerstein, who congratulated the new home recipients and welcomed them and the other new homeowners to their new dwelling placess at a reception shortly before taking a tour of Owens’ new home on North Foster Street. (PHOTO BY ALTON PORTER|HCC PHOTO)