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San Jacinto County News - Breakout

Local youth scrambles to the win at Fort Worth Stock Show

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Layla Howton picked up a calf in the annual Calf Scramble. Courtesy photoLayla Howton picked up a calf in the annual Calf Scramble. Courtesy photo

Special to theNews-Times

FORT WORTH — Layla Howton, a member of San Jacinto County 4-H, caught a calf during the Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo’s Calf Scramble on Feb. 1, earning a $500 purchase certificate for a show heifer and the chance for up to $16,000 in scholarship awards.

Howton’s parents are Amber and Jackie Howton of Shepherd. Her award was sponsored by Peter and Kristen Martin.

Howton will use the purchase certificate toward the cost of a heifer that she will raise and exhibit at next year’s Stock Show. Exhibitors that submit monthly reports and a final essay may be eligible for scholarship awards that can range between $500 and $16,000.

One of the Stock Show’s most iconic and popular events, the Calf Scramble gives 20 students an opportunity to catch 10 calves during one of 23 performances of the legendary Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo held Jan. 13 through Feb. 4.

Those not catching calves receive a pair of Justin Boots courtesy of the iconic Western footwear maker. Justin Boots and Texas Mutual Insurance Company are overall underwriters for the legendary Calf Scramble Program.

Since the Fort Worth Calf Scramble began in 1987, the program has distributed almost $4 million to nearly 8,000 Texas students providing funds for the purchase of their beef or dairy heifer and more than $3.6 million in scholarships has been awarded to more than 1,600 students in recognition of their hard work and completion of the program.

With rodeo in Dickies Arena, livestock shows, equestrian competitions, shopping, food, carnival midway and more, the scene at the Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo is the place to be every January and February. Come be a part of the western lifestyle experience that’s tightly woven into the fabric of Fort Worth – January 12 through February 3, 2024. Go to www.fwssr.com or follow on social media @fwssr.

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Garden Club gets hands on help at high school

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Special to the News-Times

COLDSPRING — The Coldspring Garden Club visited Coldspring-Oakhurst High School on Feb. 2.

The group enjoyed a tour of the Ag Facilities and a hands-on experience of what goes on in the high school CTE classrooms.

Students in Advanced Floral Design paired with 20 members of the Garden Club for a tour of the high school facilities. The visitors were introduced to the Coldspring FFA Chapter and learned more about the program from the Coldspring FFA Officer Team and were each able to participate in the creation of a Bud Vase arrangement to take home.

Students in Advanced Floral Design assisted them step-by-step through the process and answered any questions they had along the way.

Floral Design Instructor Ashlie Taylor said the garden club members were impressed with the courses offered to COHS students and the skills that are being taught in the floral design program.

“They were very grateful for the opportunity, loved their flowers, and said they looked look forward to another chance to tour our greenhouse later in the spring,” Taylor said.

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Child abduction a growing concern

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GregCapersSheriffAs a parent and grandparent and an active member of the Council for a Strong America, where I have served continuously since 2015 on the committee Fight Crime: Invest in Kids, I place a high priority on the safety of our children.

According to the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure, child means a person under 18 years of age; missing person means someone 18 years or older who’s disappearance is possibly not voluntary; and missing child means a child whose whereabouts are unknown to the child’s legal custodian. The circumstances of their absence could mean that:

•The child did not voluntarily leave the care and control of the custodian, and the taking of the child, was not authorized by law;

•The child voluntarily left the care and control of the custodian without the custodian consent, and without intent to return;

•The child was taken or retained in violation of the terms of a court order for possession, or of access to the child; or

•The child was taken or retained without the permission of the custodian, and with the effect of depriving the custodian of possession or of access to the child unless the taking or retention of the child was prompted by the commission or attempted commission of family violence.

While child abduction is rare, it’s important to use good sense as a child or a parent of a child when confronting these issues.

Share a secret code word

You and your parents should agree on a code word that is easy for you to remember. This way, if anyone tells you that you need to come with them because your parents were hurt or are in the hospital, you can ask them for the code word.

If they really are a friend of your parents, your parents would have given them the code word. If they do not know the code word, you should move away from them as fast as possible and report the incident by calling 911. If you are not able to call 911, enter a convenience store, shopping center store, gas station, etc. Then ask someone to call 911 and your parents as well. Stay where you are until law enforcement arrives and follow the instructions that will be provided to you.

Stay away from strangers

Who is a stranger? If you’ve seen someone hanging around your playground at school or in your neighborhood, this does not mean that you know him or her. Although they might have a familiar face, they still are a stranger to you.

•Strange grown-ups should never ask kids to help them

Do not go with or get in a car with a strange adult.  They should not ask you for directions, nor should you help them find their lost puppy or kitten either. If someone does ask for your help, tell them to wait. Go for help as quickly as possible by calling 911.

Losing track of parents

If you lose your parents in a public place, like a store or a park, do not go looking for them. Immediately ask someone who works there for help to find them. Tell them you have been separated from your parents and you need help finding them. You should also know your parents telephone number either cell, home or both.

Other items to remember:

•Always ask your parents before going anywhere with anybody, leaving the yard or play area, going into someone’s home, or getting a ride home with someone other than your bus driver or your usual ride.

•Once you have permission from your parents, tell them where you are going, tell them how you will get there, and tell them when you will be back.

Call them and tell them if you are going to be late, and give your parents the phone number and the person’s name of where you will be going.

•If someone follows you on foot or in a car, stay away. You do not need to go near the car or talk to anyone inside a stranger’s car.

I will introduce the Amber Alert system as it relates to recovering abducted children; the system as of Jan. 2, 2023, was responsible for the recovery of 1,127 children.

To learn more about the Council for a Strong America, and specifically the committee I’m on, Fight, Crime, Invest in Kids, please go to www.strongnation.org and click on the Texas link.

Greg Capers is Sheriff of San Jacinto County.

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Merchants holding a county sale

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Winner of Shepherd library raffle first prize quilt was Rafael Gonzales, here with director Terri McIntyre.  Courtesy photosWinner of Shepherd library raffle first prize quilt was Rafael Gonzales, here with director Terri McIntyre.  Courtesy photos

DidYouKnow ColumnHeadI hope you had a very happy Valentine’s Day. Let’s see what is coming to our area in the near future. If you want to get rid of the stuff cluttering up your space, the Trash and Treasure Garage Sale will be on Feb. 25.

To have your name on the map showing your location, call CABMA or go to the website, www.cabma.org. The cost is $10, deadline for entries to the map is Feb. 17. Call (936) 653-2332 for more info or to have your sale round the Courthouse Square.

•Brenda Myers of the Community & Children’s Impact Center asks for musicians help in founding a new inspirational group for youth in a program called “Music with the Masters.” This group will meet on the second Saturday of each month, make music and help young people who want to learn.

Brenda sees how music helps lift many of the young people facing difficult lives into a creative and energizing place. If you are interested in becoming part of this new group, contact Brenda at (936) 499-2632. You can also go to the Facebook page. The group will meet from 11 a.m.-3 p.m.

•On April 29, Rosalie’s Cottage on the Courthouse Square in Coldspring will hold its annual Bluegrass Pick and Jam Fest. This event brings many spectators to the town.

The musicians, who always give tremendous entertainment, donate their time but sponsors are invited to help with donations to pay their expenses for the journey here, food, etc., while they perform.

Nina Sledge of Rosalie’s Cottage is organizer of this event and can be reached at (936) 653-2100 or at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

•Shepherd Chamber of Commerce and Coldspring Chamber welcome Will Hall Motor Co. Towing & Road Service. Will Hall won the Best of San Jacinto County at the Coldspring Chamber Banquet. Ribbon cuttings will be announced soon. This company serves our whole area and also buys junk cars and trucks. Located at 2800 S. Byrd in Shepherd, call (832) 398-1647 for more info.

Shepherd Chamber also announces member T&S Management, Marketing and Promotions have a new artist on their team. Mike Lemons is a Gospel, R&B and blues singer as well as an actor. We hope to see him for the July 4 celebration in Shepherd.

•SJC Women’s League held its monthly luncheon last week with guest speaker Sheriff Greg Capers giving an in-depth account of the business facing law enforcement in keeping full staffing in both the jail and policing our county. He also gave an account of the reason the podium was covered in a quilt, donated to the law enforcement by Linda Deeter of Quilts for Kids.

A young girl did not return home after school and her anxious parents contacted the police. Capers said that within a short time volunteers arrived to help with the search. The number of people who came to help look for her was, he said, truly gratifying. Our community comes together in such anxious times.

The woods were searched nearby and happily her fearful parents were reunited with her. She had lost her phone and in looking for it, became lost too. The quilt is hers now. Quilts for Kids provide every first responder in our county with quilts for children who are hurt, in hospital or in some other scary situation. A quilt is not only beautiful, but also a comfort to a child and later a wonderful reminder of the generosity and caring they were given earlier in their lives.

•The Small Business Development Center is holding a virtual event on March 3. Small business owners will be able to connect with prime contractors, big businesses, local, state and federal agencies. There is space for 500 small business owners to have the opportunity to meet with more than 75 of these connections. Sign up and find out more at www.sbcd.uh.edu.

•Coldspring Chamber is working on developing new openings and opportunities to help local businesses. One change is in the recognition of Mindy Blankemyer from office manager to Executive Director, without having a vote. This gives Mindy the ability to deal with decisions made by the Board without having to refer back to the Board before being able to act on them.

Mindy has shown herself to be an exceptional asset to the Chamber and has gone over and above what is expected of her. This recognition by the Board shows our members they have someone very capable of handling all aspects of our Chamber’s work.

Contact the Shepherd Chamber at (936) 628-3890 or the Coldspring Chamber at (936) 653-2184.

Yvonne Cones is president of the Greater Shepherd Chamber of Commerce, and a member of the Coldspring Chamber of Commerce.

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Teacher honored

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Teacher Honored

Special to the News-Times

COLDSPRING — Coldspring-Oakhurst High School Health Science Instructor Kaitlin Cook was presented with the 2022-23 Citizenship Education Teacher Award (Grades 9-12) by the Department of Texas Veterans of Foreign Wars in January.

A former U.S. Army medic, Cook has taught Health Science at COHS since 2017. She is heavily involved in serving the San Jacinto County community and volunteers as a first responder for 911 calls and also acquires donations and coordinates the Trojan Clothes Closet at the high school for students in need.

As stated on its website, every year the Texas VFW recognizes an outstanding classroom teacher for grades K-5, 6-8, and 9-12. These teachers are selected from nominations received from Posts and Districts throughout Texas. The state winners are then forwarded to National VFW for competition at the National Level.

“Winning this award was a huge success for me. I was chosen as the high school winner for the entire State of Texas, which to me speaks volumes,” Cook said. “Now to wait and see if I won at the National Level!”

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