Local Stories

Welcome to Crockett, Texas
  • Undaunted: Local Businesswoman Expands As National Market Contracts
    Posted on: 2008-10-21
    by Martha Huett
    Photobucket

    Pat Dickey shares a laugh with Don Jones and
    Jimmye Kay Locander at her company's ribbon
    cutting in Nacogdoches on Tuesday,October 21st.


    Crockett business owner and real estate broker, Pat Dickey, greeted guests at her company's ribbon-cutting ceremony in Nacogdoches last Tuesday with a confident exuberance not often seen these days in many brokers. 'Oh, believe me. This wasn't a cakewalk,' Dickey said about expanding in the face of a market contraction. 'Everything is still challenging, but what cheers me on is the knowledge that a well-respected, national brand like Coldwell Banker provides the marketing tools that are the most attractive to people,' Dickey added, pointing out that the Coldwell Banker is the nation's oldest real estate organization and that fact adds to consumer confidence.

    Pat Dickey's Nacogdoches business, Coldwell Banker Choice, Realtors, officially opened for business in 2004 when the real estate market was beginning to tighten. Yet, despite an office-wide re-structuring to implement corporate policies and standards, the business was profitable its first year, contributing to roughly 25 million dollars in company-wide sales. 'We realize it may have seemed risky to expand then, especially in the light of tough competition from established brokers,' Dickey explained. 'But we just felt that we could bring our superior service to the area,' she said.

    Dickey's husband, Clive 'Bubba' Dickey, is the company's General Manager and was part of the decision-making to expand into Nacogdoches. 'We looked at other cities in the Texas Forest Country, but when we realized that Nacogdoches was the biggest city in Texas without the Coldwell Banker brand, we knew that would be our next location,' Bubba Dickey said. The company recently named Crockett area broker, Bobby Bridwell, as Assistant General Manager to head the new Nacogdoches location on NW Stallings Drive. Bridwell's first move was to hire more agents.

    'In spite of what we've been seeing and reading lately about real estate, our ten agents are busy,' Bridwell said. Also, according to Dickey, the presence of Stephen F. Austin University, a large medical community, and Nacogdoches' designation as a retirement community keep the market more active than in other areas. She added that both Houston and Nacogdoches counties are central geographic points within the Houston-Dallas-Austin metropolitan area. 'I even had a family move from a larger city to Crockett as it is more centrally located for the dad's health care job,' Dickey cited an example.

    Pat Dickey said the company's initial expansion was made smoother by winning over the highly competitive Realtors community. 'I have to hand that to Bobby and his wonderful personality,' Dickey said. 'He makes fst friends becuase his motto is to treat people as he would like to be treated,' Dickey added.

    The Nacogdoches Chamber of Commerce and area businesses also made the new office feel very welcome, Pat Dickey said. Chris Sidnell, president of Citizens First Bank confirmed that the bank donated their conference room and president's office for meetings until the Coldwell Banker Choice, Realtors office was completely ready. 'Nacogdoches has a very friendly business community,' said Bruce Partain, President and CEO of the Nacogdoches Chamber of Commerce, who was at last week's ceremony to cut the ribbon. 'And, that's because Nacogdoches was the first city to welcome visitors to Texas 250 years ago, and Pat and Bubba and Bobby are all continuing that welcoming tradition,' Partain explained.

    Pat Dickey's real estate business in Crockett, Coldwell Banker Pat Dickey, Realtors, has brought well over 1,000 families to Houston County since its opening in 1989, in part due to her company presence on the Internet. Dickey says she expects to easily exceed that record in Nacogdoches over the same period of time. 'Thanks to the changes we've seen in technology, our clients come to us a more informed buyer and from far and wide,' Dickey said. She explained that her company's website, www.PatDickey.com, has attracted buyers from Iraq to Indonesia. 'We expanded globally when we launched our site over ten years ago,' Dickey said and remarked about a couple who moved to Crockett after seeing her website while they were stationed in Iraq. 'They saw a listing on my site, called me from Iraq and now live and work in Crockett,' she said.

    Pat Dickey was the first Crockett-based business owner to open another office located outside the area. She has been in the real estate business for 34 years and has no plans to retire in the foreseeable future.

  • Local Real Estate Broker Promoted to Assistant GM in Nacogdoches
    Posted on: 2008-10-16
    by Martha Huett
    Photobucket

    Crockett area real estate broker, Bobby Bridwell, has been promoted to Assistant General Manager of the new Coldwell Banker location in Nacogdoches. 'Bobby has done an exemplary job for his clients in Houston County for over three years and has proven himself as a broker who approaches real estate sales with a genuine zest and honest appeal,' said Clive 'Bubba' Dickey, the Coldwell Banker General Manager of the 34-year-old business. In a field that is sometimes perceived as all work and not much fun, Bridwell's clients say his outgoing personality and sense of humor makes the real estate transaction less stressful for them . 'If more people used Bobby to sell their houses, there would be a lot less houses for sale,' said Janice Hughes, one of Bridwell's clients in Nacogdoches.

    Bobby Bridwell attributes his success as a broker to an understanding of the real estate market in general and to recognizing the effect current events have on the market, then passing the information along to his clients. 'My clients know that in spite of what we've seen recently, our market has experienced the highest median single-family home sales price ever, according to the latest report from the Houston MLS,' Bridwell said. 'That makes them feel more comfortable with me and more confident in their decision,' he explained, stating that the Nacogdoches market continues to be a good one because of the efforts of an active Chamber of Commerce and the Nacogdoches Economic Development Corporation. Bridwell added that he believes Stephen F. Austin University is an integral part of the success of Nacogdoches, as well as the contributions of the vital medical community.

    Already recognized by his peers in an annual Nacogdoches competition, Bridwell said his outlook on the positive side of life is important to his clients. 'My job is helping families achieve their goals, not just making money from selling property,' he explained.

    Bridwell will host an Open House at his company's new Nacogdoches location on Tuesday, October 21st. Nacogdoches Chamber of Commerce president, Bruce Partain, will conduct the ribbon-cutting and a local chaplain will offer a blessing.. Bridwell says he's hoping everyone can join the celebration of food, fun and door prizes from 11:30 -1:00pm at Coldwell Banker Choice, Realtors new office at 2026 NW Stallings Drive in Nacogdoches. More information can be obtained by calling 936.552.7877.
  • Crockett Native Awarded Highest State Chamber Honor
    Posted on: 2008-07-17
    Photobucket
    Gayle Darsey, left, Stew Darsey and Chamber Executives chair Diane Probst


    The highest honor given by the Texas Chamber of Commerce has been awarded to Crockett native, E.S. 'Stew' Darsey for his outstanding professional career in chamber management. 'This is a great privilege,' said Darsey, who is currently president of the Greater Conroe/Lake Conroe Area Chamber of Commerce. He added that the Marvin Hurley Award, named after a Houston Chamber CEO in the 50's and 60's, is a 'special tribute' because recipients are honored by their peers. The chairman of the selection committee, Phil Neighbors, said that with 'Stew's devotion to our industry and his aggressive efforts on behalf of the profession, there is little doubt that he should be so honored.'

    Darsey's 24 years experience with Texas chambers also includes the Crockett Chamber of Commerce and the Belton Chamber of Commerce.

    In August, Darsey will celebrate 16 years of service to his current position for the Conroe chamber. 'Working with Stew for the past 13 years has been a wonderful pleasure for me,' said Debbie Hayes, Director of Finance and Office Manager. 'He promotes and demonstrates compassion, integrity, individuality and optimism to his entire staff,' Hayes explained, adding that Darsey's strong belief of family values allows quality family time for staff members in spite of busy schedules.'With 3-year-old twins at home, Stew has allowed me to take time off as needed and be there for my family,' said Director of Programs, Kelly Bielamowicz, who has worked with Darsey since 1995.

    PhotobucketArea residents remember Darsey, '57 Crockett High School graduate, as popular and reliable. 'Stew has always done what he says he's going to do,' said life-long friend and hunting buddy, Clive 'Bubba' Dickey, a Crockett businessman. Dickey explained that the two grew up together, graduated from high school together, and attended the Shriner College and Sam Houston State University the same years. Dickey also said that they were part of a tightly-knit group of friends. 'Stew and his high school sweetheart, Gayle, are still happily married and have reared a fine family,' Dickey added. The Darseys reside in the Conroe area and visit friends and family in Houston County as often as they can.
    E.S. 'Stew' Darsey as a CHS senior in 1957
  • The Kalin's Center Plants Pinwheels for Child Abuse Awareness and Prevention
    Posted on: 2008-04-07

    The Kalin's Center kicked off April as Child Abuse Awareness and Prevention Month by placing pinwheels in the Houston County Courthouse lawn to represent the 189 children reported to Child Protective Services in 2007 as being abused or neglected.

    The pinwheels were planted on Wednesday, April 2nd, as The Kalin's Center joined with the Houston County Child Welfare Board for their annual flag-raising event with a proclamation read by Judge Lonnie Hunt.

    Other community organizations present included Child Protective Services, Houston County Sheriff's Office, Crockett Police Department, Houston County Attorney's Office, Houston County Juvenile Probation Office, CASA in the Pines, and The Methodist Children's Home.

    “Our goal for Child Abuse Prevention Month is that our community will realize child abuse is an issue in Houston County. Unfortunately, there are still many cases that are not reported,” says Debbie McCall, Executive Director of the Kalin's Center,“but the 189 pinwheels representing the children who were reported in Houston County last year, also represent the healing and hope we can now bring to these children.”

    For more information about the Kalin's Center, please call (936) 545-9455.
  • History and Heritage: Main Ingredients For New Cookbook
    Posted on: 2007-11-09

    'The Heritage and Historic Cookbook of Houston County' will soon be gracing kitchen countertops of many local homes. Compiled and edited by Crockett native, Dorothy Harrison, the 192-page cookbook will be available for sale in mid-January to benefit the Crockett Area Chamber of Commerce. 'This book has been three years in the making,' Harrison said, adding that the book is a historical collection of local recipes, home remedies, medicine and cooking folklore, and original pictures.
    One of the featured sections in 'The Heritage and Historic Cookbook of Houston County' is the original 1930 Crockett High School Band Cookbook re-printed in its entirety. 'The historical collection of recipes and cooking folklore makes this a charming production,' said Matthew Land, owner of Crockett-based Publication Development Company which has produced several New York Times bestsellers including 'American Soldier' by General Tommy Franks.
    'The Heritage and Historic Cookbook of Houston County is going to be an outstanding book with artwork on its hardcover and not just a picture on a paper cover. It's a Time-Life caliber of a book,'Land explained.
    When the cookbook's editor, Dorothy Harrison, was asked about what inspired her to put three years of work into it, her answer was quick and simple. 'I love to cook using old methods.' Harrison also added that she's been fascinated by old home remedies because they 'just seem to work better.' One of her favoirte home remedies which is included in the book is one for an upset stomach. ' You take a glass of orange juice, add a half-teaspoon baking soda, a teaspoon of vanilla, a little water and a little milk for indigestion, and your stomach will feel much better,' she said.
    Harrison explained that many of the recipes and remedies come from long-time residents of Houston County like the family of JoAnn Lake, Mrs. Georgia Welch Traylor, and John Washurn's aunt Katherine Urban. 'Mrs. Urban's raspberry jelly recipe is just delicious,' Harrison revealed.
    'The Heritage and Historic Cookbook of Houston County' sells for $25 and can be pre-ordered by calling the Chamber at 936.544.2359.
  • Wright Family Musicians
    Posted on: 2007-10-19
    The Wright Family presented a wonderful musical for the Classic Cruisers Car Show at Cochino Lodge. Shaped note singing as well as guitar, bass, and dulcimer entertained the crowd. A brief lesson in shaped note singing had the group mesmerized.

    The Wright Family is booked at the Camp Street Cafe as well as many other vinues throughout the month. A monthly gathering is had at the Wrights home base, the Kennard Auto on Main Street in Kennard, Texas. This is a very quaint building that once housed an auto repair shop in downtown Kennard for decades. The Wrights, using their talents, have transformed the auto shop into a musical setting that features mountain music with dulicmer, guitar, bass and other instruments to create a sound that is almost extinct.

    The Wrights are doing much to keep the music of our forefathers ,thisAmerican tradition, alive for future generations to enjoy. The Wrights are truly an American Tradition themselves. April Bruce is the new addition to the Wright Family Musicians.

    Photo and Text submitted by: Suzanne Steed
  • Eddie Atkinson: The Bible Illustrator
    Posted on: 2007-10-09


    By Crystal Wallace

    Eddie Atkinson, a treasure of East Texas, has been a resident of Latexo for 22 years, and is an extremely talented artist. Mr. Atkinson began drawing at the age of 17 and has never looked back. He depicts stories from the Bible in incredible detail, and he brings the characters and events to life.

    Mr. Atkinson began drawing in black and white and switched to colored drawings in 1950. This transition was in honor of his wife, to whom he has been married for 57 years. Mr. Atkinson uses ink and colored pencil to create his works of art, and of course his inspiration is the Bible. Mr. Atkinson said, “Well, it is a source I can never exhaust.” Those close to Mr. Atkinson say he is a genius who has been blessed by God with this wonderful talent; however, Mr. Atkinson is much too modest to realize the extent of his talent. When I asked what drew him to portray the Bible, he said he loves adventure stories and the Bible is full of adventure.

    Mr. Atkinson’s work has been picked up by the Berean Baptist Church in Houston; they buy his prints for display around their church. The most recent work done by Mr. Atkinson is “Animals Leave the Ark.” It is a very vivid piece that depicts every animal you could possibly think of; it even has a few animals that probably haven’t been around since that time. The Ark is off in the background and the animals are making their way across the grassy plain toward whatever future awaits them. At the left forefront of the drawing there is a beautiful bird that looks like it could fly right off of the paper. Mr. Atkinson’s next project is the Crucifixion.

    One would think, when painting the Bible, the crucifixion would be at the top of the list, that was not so for Mr. Atkinson. He said he has not portrayed the crucifixion as of yet because, “I did not consider myself worthy to show the suffering of Christ; however, I am going to paint it from the perspective of the crowd.” Mr. Atkinson plans to have Christ in the background and make the focus of the piece the faces and the emotion of the crowd. He is more interested in showing us the state of the people on that fateful day.

    If you would like to see more of Mr. Atkinson’s work you can look on www.berean-houston.org/Bookstore/Prints.htm This website has all the ordering information you need.

  • Local Art Gallery: World Wide Treasures
    Posted on: 2007-09-26

    By Crystal Wallace

    The White Rain Gallery, although a small establishment, has huge appeal. The White Rain Gallery opened in November of 2001, and features art not only from the United States but also from the Philippines, Indonesia, and Borneo. The bulk of the art work on display is from the private collection of Mike Mckerreghan, and is mostly hand carved wooden sculptures.

    Mr. Mckerreghan began his collection in 1976 while living in the Philippines; much of his collection was realized in remote areas of the Philippine jungle. Mr. Mckerreghan had to actively seek out the master carpenters, as the artists are referred to in the Philippines, to create his designs. Artists, although a respected profession, were not easy to come by. Much of Mr. McKerreghan's collection he designed himself; his sculptures are his imagination come to life. In 1980 Mr. Mckerreghan relocated to Dallas from the Philippines, and in 1992 he moved again. This time to Indonesia, here he continued to seek out new art pieces for his collection.

    The White Rain Gallery is run by Mr. Mckerreghan’s daughter, Kim, and was opened specifically to house his large collection. When you stop by the Gallery you will see why he was in need of the extra space. Most of Mr. Mckerreghan’s pieces are very large; many are 7-8 feet in length and up to 7 feet tall. One unique feature about these sculptures is that almost all are carved from one solid block of wood, which according to Kim makes them very heavy and cumbersome to move. Mr. Mckerreghan’s sculptures are mostly horses, eagles, and rhinos, although there are a variety of other smaller animal carvings. While Mr. Mckerreghan’s private collection is not for sale, there are several things in the Gallery that are for sale. One local artist, whose work you can purchase, is the renowned Jim Jeffries.

    Jim Jeffries is mostly known for his wood and bronze sculptures. In fact, you can see his work outside of the St. Francis of the Tejas Catholic Church on North 4th Street in Crockett. The bronze sculpture of Jesus and the Lamb was created by him. Mr. Jeffries became a full-time artist in 1980, and he was very well known and respected in the art world. He donated his time by giving demonstrations on wood carving, sculpture, and mold making to people aged 2nd grade to adult hood. Like many artists, Mr. Jeffries felt that creating art even enriches the life of people who do not consider themselves artists. Art is very positive therapeutic device. Later in his life Mr. Jeffries even wrote a book about art. Unfortunately, Mr. Jeffries passed away in December of 2006, and the world is down one more good artist; however, perhaps his work or demonstrations influenced the next generation of artists who will take his place.

    The White Rain Gallery also carries a variety of other items for sale; they have candles, jewelry, and picture frames. The jewelry on display is the creation of Susy Stevenson, pictured above is absolutely fantastic. She specializes in Brazilian and Peruvian jewelry. Ms. Stevenson is very talented and her work is extremely varied. She makes everything from pieces that are very elegant to bracelets made from coconut fibers, which I am told are very popular with the younger generation. They are very colorful and reminiscent of hemp jewelry. Ms. Stevenson shows her jewelry in Canton, Winnie, and at Livingston Trade Days. For more information on her jewelry you can call 936.594.2064, or visit her website @ www.susystuff.com. The Gallery is open on Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday from 10:00am to 2:00pm.

  • Crockett Book Club Satisfies Culture Crave
    Posted on: 2007-09-21
    By Crystal Wallace

    The residents of Crockett are hungry for culture and literary knowledge. Three years ago, Carrie and Joe Garms of Crockett took It upon themselves to start a book club right here in Crockett. Pictured above are several of the sixteen club members who meet once a month, alternating between each others' homes. Among the members is retired professor David Gallant who holds a PhD in literature and has taught for several years at the college level.

    The first book they read was Morning Sun on a White Piano: Simple Pleasures and the Sacramental Life, by Robin Meyers. However, their book list is not limited to spiritual material. They also read plays, magazine articles, novels, biographies, and short stories. The next book on the club's list is Fallen Founder: Life of Aaron Burr, by Nancy Isenberg, which is a portrayal of treachery and political intrigue.

    As would be expected, this chapter is full; however, if you love to read and discuss literature, perhaps you could form your own charter. If you are interested in starting or joining a book club, feel free to put a posting on our free Classified Ads under miscellaneous.

  • Crockett's Western Celebration: Supporting our Community
    Posted on: 2007-09-17


    By Crystal Wallace

    Food, fun, and entertainment were served up at the 19th Annual Western Celebration and Charity Auction Benefit. The music was loud, the food was hot, and the conversation constant; many of Crockett’s finest made their way around the perimeter of the Civic Center placing their bids on items from the silent auction. The tables were decorated with red and white checkered table cloths, and the centerpieces were tiny hay bales. Loose Gravel played some country favorites, while couples whirled around the dance floor. It was an atmosphere of friends, family, and community. The money raised on Saturday night goes toward the upkeep and repair of the Crockett Civic Center and the Porth Agricultural Arena.

    The Civic Center and Porth Ag Arena raises a substantial amount of money for our community, and is irreplaceable host of a number of events around Houston County. They hold concerts, rodeos, livestock shows, and also rent out the Civic Center to citizens for any number of private and public events. These events bring in people from other towns that spend their money at our stores, restaurants, and hotels. That is why dozens of area businesses and individuals donated services and products for the silent auction. These items included everything from framed pictures, to a wood burning stove. There were items for every age and past time.

  • Habitat: Buliding Relationships one House at a Time
    Posted on: 2007-09-12


    By Crystal Wallace


    This motto, unique to the Crockett area Habitat, says it all. Habitat for Humanity is not just about putting people in homes, it is about building connections in our community. Habitat for Humanties national slogan is of course, “It’s a hand up, not a hand out.” This also is true. Habitat for Humanity ‘s main priority is to get families into homes; however, the recipients of the homes must be able to pay for them after they are built. The executive director, who granted this interview, is Carrie Garms, and the president for the Crockett chapter is Lynda Warfield.

    Habitat for Humanity is a non-profit organization that is funded by donations. The Crockett chapter receives most of its donations either from individuals, local churches, or fundraisers. Since there are no paid employees at Habitat all of the proceeds go toward the building projects. The homes are built with help from local volunteers, as well as volunteers from other areas. The Garms have had volunteers from Huntsville, Palestine, and Nacogdoches come in and aid in the building projects. Many local contractors assist Habitat by helping find them discounted materials.

    If you are wondering who is eligible for Habitat homes, periodically there are ads run in the paper and on the radio for an eligibility screening. Carrie Garms, the executive director of the Crockett chapter Habitat for Humanity said, “You have to be living in a place that is over-crowded, un-clean, or un-safe, and the recipient of the home must also put in at least 500 hours of work on the home.” If you think you may be eligible for a home through Habitat for Humanity keep your ears and eyes open for their announcement for a screening. For more information on how you can help or benefit from Habitat for Humanity call 936.544.4602 or visit their website here.

  • Crockett ISD Administrator Leads by Example
    Posted on: 2007-09-05



    By Tyrell Albin
    If you call the office of David Baxter, Crockett ISD's Assistant Superintendent for Administration, and happen to get his voicemail, you will hear an interesting message. “Have a great day,” Baxter's rich, deep voice intones. “Have a personal best day. Don't forget to do better today than you did yesterday. Kaizen!”

    Kaizen? What's that?

    Anyone who has spent some time at Crockett ISD has met Baxter, a large, friendly man with a commanding presence who takes the time to get to know the students in his school well above and beyond what is expected of an assistant superintendent. And if you've met Baxter, you've probably heard the educator's favorite word – Kaizen.

    Baxter was first introduced to Kaizen at an educator's conference many years ago. “Kaizen is a Japanese word for continual improvement,” Baxter explained. That concept – continual improvement, was a part of his life philosophy long before he learned a word to describe it.
    Baxter grew up in a rough section of Los Angeles. He was smart and charismatic, but his adolescence was troubled. He often found himself clashing with authority, which worried his mother.

    Today, he remembers a man who was a mentor to him during his high school years. Dr. Joyce McKenna was an assistant principal at his school. His example of wisdom and solid citizenship left a lasting impression on the teenage Baxter. “Son, I know you have good leadership abilities,” Mckenna once told him. “I see you jump that fence every afternoon [to skip school] and four or five guys follow you. You're just leading in the wrong direction.”

    When Baxter graduated from Susan Miller Dorcy High School in L.A., his mother wanted him to leave town and find better influences. She had a secret weapon in the fact that Baxter harbored an interest in hunting and fishing, sports that are hard to enjoy in a large city. At her urging, Baxter moved to Texas, where he attended Jarvis Christian College in Hawkins and eventually earned a BS in Biology.

    After college, Baxter pursued his goal of playing professional baseball. He played one season in the minor leagues for the San Diego Padres, then was sidelined with an injury. He returned to Texas to recover.
    While he was healing, Baxter applied for a job as a girl's volleyball coach at Aldine ISD. Even though he wasn't yet a certified teacher, was hired to coach volleyball, help coach baseball, and teach biology. “Almost as soon as I became a teacher, I started running into kids who reminded me of myself,” Baxter said. He never returned to professional baseball, but instead made it his life's work to reach at-risk students and help them become productive, happy adults.

    “I like going to school,” he said. “I like being involved with the kids.” Over his career as an educator and administrator, Baxter has held many positions, including teacher, assistant principal, and principal. He also helped develop the Charles R. Drew Academy for Mathematics, Science and Fine Arts in Houston. He came to Crockett ISD in January of 2004.

    Throughout everything though, Baxter has made the welfare of the students his primary focus. He is a big supporter of programs that find creative ways to teach students things they will need both in their academic careers and in life. He helps local resident Cindy Parker run a basketball ministry that teaches solid values and sportsmanship to area youth. He is involved in a student hunting and fishing program at Crockett ISD that takes students on supervised outdoor excursions to learn good stewardship of the environment, proper hunting techniques and safety. Some of the students he took on one hunting trip got the opportunity to show the school board what they had learned at a recent board meeting. They cooked and served a fine meal featuring wild boar and venison that they had harvested themselves.
    Baxter said that he hopes to implement other programs that will encourage students to learn school subjects by pairing them with fun activities that involve those skill sets. “I want to do an intro to SCUBA program,” Baxter said as an example. “You tie that to science instruction.”

    Under his proposal, if a student agreed to take an after-school program for marine biology, they would also be taught an accredited course in SCUBA diving that would allow them to get certified. He stressed the need to show students why they must learn things, rather than simply bombarding them with dry facts. “I feel like a lot of what we do in the typical classroom lacks relevance,” he said.

    Giving students the motivation to learn will help them to find new opportunities in their lives, which will benefit not only the individual students, but everyone around them. Baxter wouldn't be able to continue to inspire his students every day if he didn't feel a burden for them that constantly pushes him to try and do better every day, just like the message says on his voicemail. It's a message that sounds more like a mission statement than a simple wait for the beep. Kaizen. Constant Improvement. It's not just an educational concept, but a way of life we should all adopt.


  • Homegrown Goodness: Local Farm Co-op
    Posted on: 2007-08-30

    Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

    By Crystal Wallace
    Charles and Janice Alfred are the proud owners of a small farm co-op, Guardian Angel Farm, outside of town on Highway 19. They offer a wide range of services and products to Houston County. The couple harvests goat milk, produces goat cheese, has free-range chickens, and also raises a variety of other fowl. The Alfred's have five and a half acres on which they raise their animals, and one really unique service that they offer is their co-op program. This program allows customers who do not have the land or time to raise an animal of their own, to purchase shares in the animals at the farm. For a small fee the Alfred's take care of the animals while you reap the benefits. The customer is entitled to a certain amount of product that the animal produces.
    Another extraordinary quality about this farm is that the products are all natural. The health conscious citizens of Crockett are aware that there are not a wide range of healthful products offered in our area. However, the Alfred's animals are given no steroids, chemicals, or growth hormones at Guardian Angel Farm.
    The health benefits to eating all natual foods are tremendous; for example, goats milk, which is more closely related to human milk than cow milk, is easier to digest for people who are lactose intolerant. Also, goat milk does not form mucus so it is better tolerated for those who suffer from asthma or allergies. It is a fact that food that is not inundated with chemicals, preservatives, and growth hormones is better for our bodies, and it is also more nutritious. For example, free-range chicken eggs have more Vitamin E, Beta Carotene, Omega-3 fatty acids, and about half the cholesterol of store bought eggs.
    If you are interested in these fantastic products or services please call the Alfred's at 936.544.2004, or visit their website @ www.guardianangelfarms.net.
  • Houston County Sheriff Office to Start County Neighborhood Watch Program
    Posted on: 2007-08-16


    Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting


    By Tyrell Albin
    The Houston County Sheriff’s Department will be holding a meeting next week to introduce local residents to a new, county-wide neighborhood watch program.
    The meeting will be held on Thursday, August 23 at 5:30 p.m. in the Houston County Co-Op Meeting Room on Loop 304 in Crockett. Anyone interested in learning more about neighborhood watches, or just how to better aid local law enforcement in solving and preventing crimes, is welcome to attend.
    The program that the sheriff’s office is starting will be called the Community Safe Neighborhood Watch.
    “This first meeting is just to roll it out,” said Susie Hammond, Communications Supervisor for the Houston County Sheriff’s Department. “After that, we hope to have small meetings all over the county.”
    The first meeting will be hosted by Sheriff Darrell Bobbitt. Hammond will be giving a Powerpoint presentation, and other representatives of the sheriff’s department will be on hand as well.
    Hammond said that they will hand out pamphlets to the audience and explain how a neighborhood watch program works. She mentioned that it will be similar to the very effective neighborhood watch program already active in the city of Crockett, which is run by local volunteers, including Glenna Enos.
    After the initial meeting, the sheriff’s department hopes to see small neighborhood watch groups start operating throughout the county.
    “It’s really all about making neighbors aware of neighbors,” Hammond said.
    The heart of a neighborhood watch program is the idea of the public sharing tips with law enforcement about unusual activity. Hammond related that the recent arrests of members of a large burglary ring were possible in part due to tips from the public.
    Hammond said that the sheriff’s department wants people to call them and let them know about things like suspicious vehicles near their homes.
    Sheriff Bobbitt has high hopes for the Community Safe Neighborhood Watch program.
    “What we would like to accomplish,” Bobbitt said, “is a better relationship between the public and law enforcement. We really are our neighbor’s keeper, and we’ve kind of gotten away from that.”
    For further information on the neighborhood watch meeting set for August 23, call 936-544-2862.
  • Local Educator Teaches Gracious Living
    Posted on: 2007-04-11

    By Tyrell Albin
    We all forget to mind our manners sometimes. Maybe it happens because we get lazy. Or perhaps we don’t know the right thing to do. Whatever the reason, all of us need to be reminded of proper etiquette occasionally.

    That’s where Crockett resident Edwardlene Fleeks-Willis, PhD, comes in. Dr. Willis, 74, is the author of Mind Your Manners: an Etiquette Guide for Youth and Young Adults - a book that helps us to remember everything from what to do with the extra forks at a formal dinner, to how we should behave in school and at work.

    Dr. Willis, who has worked throughout her life as an educator, first began thinking about writing a book on etiquette back in 1990, when she was preparing a seminar on table manners for a youth group in Texarkana.

    So she started doing research for a book. The end result of all of her hard work was Mind Your Manners, which was published in 1991.

    The book covers a variety of topics, including: good manners at school, party manners, how to entertain properly, and dating etiquette.

    Read more on the Leisure and Entertainment page under Books.

  • It's A Dog's Life
    Posted on: 2007-04-05

    By Tyrell Albin
    Crockett is the home of nine new four-legged celebrities—the direct descendents of Rin Tin Tin, one of the world’s most celebrated canines. Our own Daphne Hereford, editor of the Houston County Courier is one of only three recorded owners of the nearly century-old German Shepherd lineage. And of the newest members of the Rin Tin Tin legacy, Hereford is proud to say, “It’s a boy, it’s a girl, it’s a girl, it’s a boy, it’s a boy…”

    Rin Tin Tin, named after French puppets given to American soldiers for good luck, brought that luck to Hollywood where he single-pawedly saved a then-struggling Warner Brothers Pictures from bankruptcy when he stole the show—and the heart of the nation—in his debut film, “Man From Hell’s River.” He went on to make 26 pictures for Warner Brothers. So talented was he, rumor has it that he could actually read the 10,000 fan letters he received per week at the peak of his canine career.

    The descendants of Rin Tin Tin would also accomplish great feats. One would be the first dog to fly on a commercial airplane. Another was an official soldier in WWII where he contributed to the war effort by helping to train more than 5,000 dogs and handlers.

    The lineage has been meticulously maintained and is now in the hands of Hereford. “ I have dedicated my life to the maintenance of this lineage and am proud to say, the dog you see today representing Rin Tin Tin is the same dog put before the public in the 1950s,” she added.

    So, paws up to the pups who are carrying on a great name.
  • Online Newspapers
    Posted on: 2006-11-30
    Houston County Courier
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