Latexo Academic UIL Team Wins District


The Latexo High School Academic UIL team won its District UIL contest in Lovelady on April 2. Pictured are (back row) Charles Rothrock, Jacob McCleod, Lane Stephens, Kase Miller, Sonny Townsend, Riley Catoe, (middle row) Byron Williams, Reese Filer, Emma Johnston, Graycie Gibbins, Bailey Ingle, Macey Brim, Haylee Frizzell, (front row) Camryn Craven, Taryn Cyrless, Rachel Cutler, Rocko Bishop, Carolyn Townsend and Raelynn Axelson. The Math, Computer Science, Calculator Applications, Current Issues, Journalism and Speech teams brought home first place medals. Nineteen students qualified for Regional competition to be held later this month, with several students qualifying for more than one event. Last year, Latexo High School was Regional runner-up and State runner-up in Conference 2A. (Courtesy Photo)

Lothrop Masonic Lodge No. 21 Installs New Officers

Lathrop Masonic LodgeLathrop Masonic Lodge

On Saturday, July 18, Lothrop Masonic Lodge installed new officers for 2015-16. Pictured are (top row) Chaplain Jack Watson, Treasurer Roy Stokes, Tiler Tim Rye, Deacon Buck Carroll Jr., (bottom row) Senior Deacon Zain Banatwala, Junior Warden Alan Keply Jr., Master of the Lodge D.C. Williams, Senior Warden James Thames Sr., Steward Greg Clark Jr. and Marshal Don Morris. Not pictured are Secretary Tom Murphy, Senior Steward Tim Allen and Master of Ceremonies Bruce Ashley.

Crockett Elementary Celebrates Earth Day

Photo by Teresa Holloway-HewettPhoto by Teresa Holloway-Hewett

Jeff Hall, Environmental/Quality Coordinator for the NuCor Vulcraft Group Grapeland Division, on Friday, April 17, spoke to Crockett Elementary School students about the importance of recycling for now and for future generations. In honor of Earth Day, NuCor Vulcraft donated red oak trees to each of the students. Since 2011, Hall said, NuCor Vulcraft has distributed over 600 young red oak trees at most of the schools in Houston County. He also thanked City of Crockett Solid Waste and Recycling Center Director Ray Fleming for his efforts to educate children about what can be recycled. (Photo by Teresa Holloway-Hewett)

Annual Pet Show Entertaining, Educational As Youngsters Learn Teamwork, Showmanship

Rylie Wilson won a trophy and a cash prize with “Ellie”, judged as the Best Mannered entry in the Pet Show Tuesday, April 7 at the Porth Ag Arena.

By Teresa Holloway-Hewett
Courier Reporter
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Proud pet parents and their beloved pals were beaming at the Porth Ag Arena Tuesday, April 7, as coveted awards were handed out by Houston County Fair Queen Graycie Gibbins and Fair Princess Meredith Tuggle.

Ribbons and cash were flowing from royal hands as they gracefully kept pace with the judge's decisions at the annual pet show sponsored by KIVY Radio.

Every child and pet excelled in the category entered, and the decisions were challenging.
James Alford, pet judge, was in his element as he examined every aspect of the pet. He noted points for teamwork, grooming, manners and showmanship.

No judge has had a tougher decision. Earnest faces, furry faces, billed faces and green faces waited, hot and dusty, for his decision.

When the awards were in, the winning lineup was Rylee Wilson and "Ellie" for Best Mannered; Baylee Omelina and "Bella" took home Best Team. Brody McDaniel and "Tiny Tuck the Turtle" won Showmanship.

Hannah Huffstuttler and "Bella" were judged Best Groomed. Best of Show went to Rylie Beaver and "Gus".

In the Pure Breed under 25 lbs. category, Avery Huff and "Hochi" took first place. Kyra Rogers and "Hunter" came behind in a close second. Kaisten Richardson and "Molly" won third. Kade Stephens and "Buster" won fourth place.

Pure Breed over 25 lbs. saw many winners, and some sibling competition. Landry Beaver and "Gus" won first place. Hannah Huffstuttler and "Bella" took second; Laney Smith and "Pearl" won third.

Bailey Omelina and "Bella" were in fourth place, followed by Michael Omelina and "Dynamite" in fifth. Carter Tucker with "June Bug" won sixth, and Curt Tucker and "Josey" were in seventh.
Rylee Wilson and "Ellie" came in at eighth, with Kealy Green and "Toby" won ninth. Tenth place went to Hunter Coker and "Freya".

For the Mixed Breed under 25 lbs. category, Kaylee Satterly and "NayNay" proudly took home first place. Delaney Murray and "Sparky" won second. Sunny Gros and "Sully" captured third, with Marley Gros taking home fourth place.

In the Mixed Breed over 25 lbs. arena, Cleve Allen Showed "Jenna" and won first place. Kate Allen and "Cat" grabbed second, and Brian Wacha and "Kratos" won third.

For the furry feline Cats division, Emma Gibson showed a sleepy "Tiger" on her arm and carried home the first place trophy.

Miscellaneous animals category is always fun. This year the winners include Shelby Waldrep; her "Gabe the Guinea Pig" was really on the ball as they won first place.

Toby Curless put "Lucky" the alpaca through his paces and won second place.

Brody McDaniel and "Tiny Tuck the Turtle" made another showing, this time taking home third place.

Josie Ditoro beamed "Darth Vader the Duck" straight into fourth place. Darcie Corcoran and "Squeaker the Duck" squeaked into fifth.

Zoey Jimenez and "Mr. T. the Turtle" knocked out the competition, bringing in sixth.

Harlie Hoch was on the case with "Deputy the Turtle" and won seventh. Lilly Omelina and "Quackers the Duck" won eighth place.

Proud pet owners and proud pets - in the words of Alford, "Everyone who came out here is a winner!"

PWFAA Starting New Tradition With First Spring Music And Arts Festival

The first Spring Music and Arts Festival sponsored by the Piney Woods Fine Arts Association is just around the corner, Saturday, April 25.  PWFAA Executive Director Bryan Lake and PWFAA Associate Producer Glenn Barnhart are pictured in Lightnin’ Hopkins Park planning where to station artisan booths and barbecue cook-off contestants. (Photo by Teresa Holloway-Hewett)The first Spring Music and Arts Festival sponsored by the Piney Woods Fine Arts Association is just around the corner, Saturday, April 25. PWFAA Executive Director Bryan Lake and PWFAA Associate Producer Glenn Barnhart are pictured in Lightnin’ Hopkins Park planning where to station artisan booths and barbecue cook-off contestants. (Photo by Teresa Holloway-Hewett)

By Teresa Holloway-Hewitt
Courier Reporter

Planning is almost done and Saturday, April 25 could be the start of a brand new tradition!

The Piney Woods Fine Arts Association has put together a fabulous lineup of music, arts and entertainment for its first Spring Music and Arts Fesitval in Crockett.

Gates open at 3 p.m. and the festival will run until midnight.

Entry is free, so bring the whole family. This will be an outdoor festival at its best, and will have something for everyone, according to PWFAA Executive Director Bryan Lake.

Centered on Historic Camp Street (Third St.) in Lightnin' Hopkins park, this festival will showcase live bands and local artisans.

There will be no shortage of entertainment with music from "Trio Grande, ZZ Top Tribute" beginning at 3 p.m., followed by "The Saw Mill Vagrants" at 4:30 p.m., and "Me and My Monkey, Beatles Tribute" at 5:30 p.m. , PWFAA Associate Producer Glenn Barnhart reported.

At 8 p.m. Bear Hall will be filled with dancers as Amber Digby and Midnight Flyer, with special guest Mikki Daniel, begin their performance. Tickets for the Bear Hall concert and dance are $17.

The barbeque cook-off starts at 3 p.m. and $10 plates will be available at 5:30 p.m.

Best barbeque winners will be announced between 5:30 p.m. and 7 p.m. Barbeque artists are encouraged to participate. Sign up soon because contestants are entered on a first come basis, Barnhart said.

A host of children's activities including Dr. Squeaky the Balloon Artist, miniature train rides, sculpture, face painting, canvas painting and much more will delight kids of all ages.

Two exciting art demonstrations are scheduled. Johnny Villarreal and his stop-motion animation exhibition and Muralist Charles Ingram will be painting a mural as festival goers watch.

A silent auction and drawings will be held, with prizes like Phantom of the Opera tickets for the Houston show, a weekend getaway in the Texas Hill Country, an I-Pad Air, a designer purse and a Yeti Cooler.

Proceeds from the drawing will benefit PWFAA's Arts-in-Education programs, great prizes.

PWFAA's Arts-in-Education programs bring the arts to the children of rural East Texas in nationally touring shows, artist residencies in the schools, the Houston County Youth Talent Showcase, Missoula Children's Theatre and the Jim Jeffries Summer Arts Workshop.

For more information about the festival or to sign up for the barbeque cook-off, go to, the Piney Woods Fine Arts Association Facebook page or call 936-544-4276 between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m., Monday - Friday.
Lake and Barnhart said, "This is bound to be a rockin' good time in Crockett, live music, food, family fun and good neighbors. Starting a new tradition was never this much fun!"

Grapeland FFA Land Judging Team Places First At Navarro County

Grapeland FFA Land Judging Team

The Grapeland FFA participated in the Navarro County Open Judging contest Friday, March 27, in Corsicana. The Land Judging team of Stevie Reynolds, Rebekah Turner and Sydney Watson placed first; the team of Nathan Little, J.D. Martin and Callie Richburg placed second; and the team of Victoria Martin, Monic Davila, Hayden Vickers and Kadie Richburg placed third. Nathan Little was first high individual; Monic Davila was second; and Stevie Reynolds was third. Grapeland had two livestock judging teams in the contest, also.

All of the team members were either eighth or ninth graders judging in their first ever contest.
While not placing in the top three they did very well for their first contest. Those members were Amy Crook, Taylor Pennington, Reagan Bishop, Hannah Turner, Carter James, Blake Howard, Haylee Reed and Carly Parker.