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Christmas in Trinity

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Vehicles sported bright lights at the annual Christmas parade. PHOTOS BY TONY FARKASVehicles sported bright lights at the annual Christmas parade. PHOTOS BY TONY FARKAS

Vehicles sported bright lights at the annual Christmas parade. PHOTOS BY TONY FARKAS

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It really does look like Christmas

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ItReallyLooksLikeChristmasTSNTCandy Cane Lane leads folks to Santa’s Workshop and Rolly the Reindeer, and even sports carolers from Sam Houston State University. PHOTOS BY TONY FARKUS

By Tony Farkas
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Lone Star Lights is a wonderland near Riverside.

Maybe not a wintery one, but one full of not only the Christmas spirit but the Holy Spirit as well, with 1.2 million LED lights creating a holiday glow.

Event Director Wes Armstrong said Lone Star Lights covers an area of approximately 17 acres just off of FM 980, and was created last year as an extension of Carolina Creek Christian Camp’s mission of bringing families closer to Christ.

Since the camps and retreat centers close down during the holiday season, Armstrong said Lone Star Lights was designed to allow the camp to reach people year-round in a family-centric and community-oriented way.

Following a large loop, there are eight themed areas for visitors to explore, all designed to make them feel as they won’t be “nickel and dimed” by the park.

One such is the Snow Zone, a place where three quarters of a million pounds of snow is created for the full winter experience. Armstrong said they truck in 30,000 to 60,000 pounds of ice daily, depending on the weather, which is then shredded on site.

There is Santa’s Workshop, where people and children can get their pictures taken with Santa, which is provided free in digital form to the patrons. Prints can be purchased if desired.

A hit with children is Rolly the Talking Reindeer, who is an animatronic animal that is interactive and will respond to questions, all the while cracking jokes.

Patrons can do crafts, decorate sugar cookies at Silver Bell Bakery, take horse rides through the park (led by attendants), ride a zip line over a river of lights or take on challenges in what Armstrong says is a hidden gem — the Adventure Park.

There are crate stacking challenges and bucking barrels for kids of all ages

There are daily acoustic musical acts, live bands, and in Halley Hall, community groups of all types, such as acting, dancing or even martial arts, can perform.

For a more immersive experience, the camp offers dinner theater, which includes a four-course meal and acts by the A.D. Players, or even overnight stays can be purchased, as the camp has 12 family cabins, each themed and decorated for the season, and 12 lodge rooms, all Christmas-centric.

Armstrong said it takes 135 people a night to staff the park, which includes full-time, seasonal and volunteer staff.

The park is open on select days beginning Nov. 24 and ending with a nine-day run to Dec. 24. Hours run from 5:30-10 p.m.

Armstrong said costs for adults is $35 and $22 for children; however, there are several discount nights where costs drop to $25 for adults and $15 for youth. The park closes at 9 p.m. those nights. Parking is free, and shuttles will ferry guests to the park.

For information or to purchase tickets or make reservations, call (936) 744-0134 or visit lonestarlights.org .

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GISD likely to remain 2A

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The Groveton school building got a bit of an upgrade as new signs were installed over the entrances facing Main Street. Photo by Martha MericleThe Groveton school building got a bit of an upgrade as new signs were installed over the entrances facing Main Street. Photo by Martha Mericle

By Tony Farkas
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GROVETON — The Groveton Independent School District will probably remain a 2A school after the upcoming UIL realignment based on its current enrollment figures.

Superintendent Jim Dillard delivers a monthly report to the Board of Trustees, as he did on Nov. 27, on enrollment, and currently the district is sitting at 769 total students, with an average daily attendance around 96 percent.

However, for the UIL Snapshot, used by the organization when it realigns districts every two years, it largely is concerned with the students in grades 9-12, which is 228 students.

Dillard said the district has been a D1 2A for years; since last year’s cutoff to move up was 249, he doesn’t expect that will change, even though this year’s cutoff hasn’t been announced.

The board also recognized the girls cross country team for their trip to state, the second year in a row for that honor, Dillard said.

“They have been very successful the past few years,” he said. “We’re extremely proud of them. Every time they compete at that level it’s good for the school and the community. We appreciate the way these young people represent the city.”

In other business, the board:

•held a hearing on updates on policy; and

•discussed the annual evaluation of the superintendent.

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Groveton students progressing along with school year

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StudentProgress STCK

By Jo Ann Anderson Beken

It is hard to believe that another calendar year has passed, and half of the school year is over. Thank you to all the Groveton ISD staff members, students, and community folks who work, plan, support and organize the many activities for our students.

Numerous activities and competitions occur and most of them are posted on our Groveton Ex-Student’s Facebook page, so check them out. Homecoming, football, volleyball, cross-country, UIL competitions, FFA and 4-H contests, cosmetology, the Veteran’s Day Celebration (almost 1,000 people registered.), and much more.

Our Groveton students make us proud in all aspects of their representation of the Groveton Indian family and our community. Thank you for continuing the winning spirit and pride we all learned in those halls at GHS. Our best wishes for a successful Spring semester as additional sports and activities begin.

•Our college students are finishing up their fall classes and will be submitting to us their grades, as well as their proposed schedules for the spring semester. Students were sent an email in October reminding them of the process and deadlines.

Requirements for continued funding of their scholarships include a GPA of at least 2.5 and completing at least 12 hours per semester. Once those requirements are submitted and verified by our Secretary, Liz Ledbetter, she forwards the information to our Treasurer, Tim Coker, who issues the funding to the designated college for each scholarship recipient.

In May, we will review scholarship applications from our seniors of the Class of 2023, as well as current college students, and the process continues. How satisfying to observe the vision of the dedicated Groveton school supporters who created the Groveton Ex-Student’s Association in the 1970s as it continues to thrive and fulfil the goal of the association.

Many people before us had the insight and the skills to use this process year-after-year to help Groveton students earn their college degree. Generous donors provided the funds. We are thankful to the creators of the association, as well as the various members of the Executive Board over these many years for their dedication to the process. We are proud to carry on your work.

We are grateful for a generous donation by the family of Barney Callahan to fund his memorial scholarship that is awarded each year in May to a Groveton graduate. Mr. Callahan was a well-respected member of our community and was the ultimate Groveton supporter. He has several children and grandchildren who graduated from Groveton high schools and who are valuable members of their communities, both in Groveton and surrounding areas.

We are honored to remember Mr. Callahan and his contributions to Groveton through this scholarship. Thank you to his family.

•Since my last article, we have, sadly, lost ten members of our Groveton school family. We are going to miss Mark Hester, Class of 1972; Horace M. Fletcher, Class of 1946; Shirley Barnett Headley, Class of 1966; Marvin Thompson, Class of 1966; Delton Antley, Class of 1956; David Ebarb, Class of 1995; Ronnie Eastepp, Class of 1965; Sallye Thompson Evans, Class of 1953; Carolyn Lipscomb, Class of 1977; and Lenora “Lynn” Collins Due, Class of 1943 associate member.

Each of these names represent families who are dealing with the pain of their passing, and we ask for comfort and peace as they deal with their loss.

My best wishes for you and your family for a wonderful Christmas as well as a happy, healthy new year. We look forward to all the good news that will come from our Groveton school family as well as the Groveton Ex-Students Association.

Go, Big Red.

Jo Ann Anderson Beken is president of the Groveton Ex-Students Association.

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Ranch wins top awards

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The animals of the Casaray Ranch near Groveton won numerous awards at a recent show. Courtesy photoThe animals of the Casaray Ranch near Groveton won numerous awards at a recent show. Courtesy photo

Special to theNews-Standard

BRYAN — Casaray Ranch, a Trinity County breeder of red Brahmans, won numerous awards, including senior yearling champion, at the 2023 National Brahman Show, held Nov. 6 in Bryan.

Other awards include reserve champion genetic group and first place senior yearling.

Casaray Ranch of Trinity County is dedicated to the genetic improvement of the red Brahman breed.

2023 National Brahman Show

Brazos County Expo Complex, Bryan

•Senior Yearling Champion Red Bull — Casaray Derek

•Reserve Champion Red Breeder’s Genetic Group — Sire: Smokin Gun; Dam:Lady Rhineaux; Casaray Hg Rose, Casaray Hg Kate, Casaray Hg Roberth

•First Place Senior Yearling — Casaray Hg Karen

•First Place — Casaray Hg Axel 150/2

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