Truck driving instructor Robert Ashbreck, standing, reviews rules with students (from left) Larry Ponder, Laura Thompson and William Reed during a classroom session at the PJC-Sulphur Springs Center. To inquire about this and other workforce education programs at PJC, call 903-885-1232.
Paris Junior College — located in Paris, Texas, about 100 miles northeast of Dallas — has been a part of the Lamar County community since 1924.
Paris Junior College offers Associate in Arts, Associate in Science and Associate in Applied Science degrees, as well as Certificates of Proficiency in technical/workforce fields. The college has expanded its academic curriculum through the years to encourage associate degree and university transfer candidates. Since establishing its first vocational program — jewelry and watchmaking in 1942 — the college has been aggressive in adding technical/workforce programs that will benefit students entering the workforce.
The campus of 54 tree-shaded acres includes 20 major buildings and residence halls and provides students a unique and pleasant environment for learning.
Paris Junior College also operates centers in Sulphur Springs, Texas, and in Greenville, Texas.
To be the educational provider of choice for the region.
Paris Junior College is a comprehensive community college serving the region’s educational and training needs while strengthening the economic, social and cultural life of our diverse community.
Man Arrested In 2017 For Smuggling People Into The Country Is Back In Hopkins County Jail On Warrants
A 30-year-old Mexico man Arrested In 2017 for smuggling people into the country was back in Hopkins County jail Friday morning on warrants.
Hopkins Count Sheriff’s Office was alerted Alejandro Castro Rodriguez was in custody in Webb County jail on two Hopkins County warrants. HCSO Deputy Steve Huffman traveled to Laredo, took custody of Rodriguez at 6:48 a.m. Sept. 16 and transported him to Hopkins County jail, where he was booked at 4:17 p.m. Thursday on warrants for bail jumping and failure to appear as well as bond forfeiture on the 2017 smuggling of person charge.
The charges stem from a Dec. 5, 2017, incident in which Rodriguez was accused during an Interstate 30 traffic stop of transporting in a Honda van nine males who reportedly paid individuals to bring them into the United States from Mexico and were being transported in the van to another location top work to pay off their debt for the illegal entry into the country, deputies alleged following Rodriguez’s arrest in 2017.
Rodriguez, shown in 2021 arrest reports to be a Mexican citizen, admitted he was driving nine people from Dallas to Mississippi to work. Based on information gleaned, deputies indicated they believed the Ciudad de Mexico resident had encouraged the passengers to enter or remain in the country, violating federal law by concealing, harboring or shielding them from detection by authorities, deputies alleged at that time.
The 30-year-old during that 2017 traffic stop at mile marker 132 in Hopkins County allegedly presented a Mexico ID card but claimed to have driver’s licenses out of Alabama and Mexico. A records check, however, showed no record of a driver’s license based on the identifiers given. Thus, Rodriguez was jailed on Dec. 5, 20217, on no driver’s license and smuggling of persons charges, deputies alleged in arrest reports. He was indicted the next March on the smuggling charge and in November 2018 for bail jumping on the charge, according to jail records..
Rodriguez remained in Hopkins County jail Friday morning, Sept. 17, 2021, in lieu of the $20,000 bond set on the third-degree smuggling charge and the $25,000 bond on the bail jumping/FTA charge, according to Hopkins County jail reports.
The Hopkins County Sheriff’s Office is located at 298 Rosemont St., Sulphur Springs, TX 75482. Non-emergency calls can be made to (903) 438-4040.
A two-vehicle crash resulted in one death and two people being flown from the I-30 service road, east of Sulphur Springs, to an area trauma center Friday morning, authorities reported.
A four-door passenger car traveling east on the south I-30 service road east of FM 69 near Shaggy Road careened in to the back of a sanitation collection truck, trapping the three occupants of the car.
Hopkins County 911 operators were contacted at 7:49 a.m. Sept. 17, 2021, regarding the crash. Hopkins County, Brinker, Pickton-Pine Forest and Sulphur Springs firefighters; Hopkins County sheriff’s deputies; Texas Department of Public Safety troopers; and Hopkins County EMS responded at the crash site. TxDOT reportedly assisted with traffic as well.
Firefighters extricated the three occupants of the car. A medical helicopter was requested to land near the crash site. Two of the occupants of the vehicle, the adult driver and one child, were reportedly flown to CHRISTUS Mother Frances Hospital-Tyler with serious, possibly life-threatening injuries. The second passenger, an 11-year-old male, was pronounced dead at the crash site by Precinct 2 Justice of the Peace Brad Cummings at 8 a.m. Friday.
No additional information, including the identities of the car’s occupants, had been released at 11:20 a.m. Sept. 17, 2021. The two-vehicle crash investigation, lead by Texas Department of Public Safety Trooper Arturo Ugalde, which had yet to be completed late Friday morning.
Homecoming Friday brings lots of Wildcats and Lady Cats sports today.
At the time of this posting, Wildcats and Lady Cats cross country will already be participating in the Pine Tree Mark Darby Invitational, held in Longview.
Coach Ross Hicks and his program will no doubt be hoping for equal or better results than last Saturday’s Hallsville Invitational, where the Wildcats placed fifth.
The Wildcats cross country coach said during our weekly Tuesday interview a couple of varsity runners did not make the trip out to Longview with the team last Saturday.
Coach Hicks hoped to have his team back at full strength today when they made an early trip out to Longview to compete in the Mike Darby Invitational, hosted by Pine Tree.
The 5A and 6A women running the 5K got going at 8 A.M., followed by the 5A and 6A boys at 8:30 A.M.
Moving over to the Lady Cats volleyball team, Coach Bailey Dorner’s team will be looking for the bounce-back win tonight versus the Marshall Lady Mavs.
Sulphur Springs played in one of the best games this young journalist has seen, and almost pulled out the come-from-behind victory on Tuesday versus a talented and well-coached Texas High team.
Coach Dorner’s team fell behind 2-0 before rallying back to tie the match at two sets a piece.
A slow start in the fifth set proved to ultimately be their undoing, but they managed to make it very close when the Lady Tigers won the fifth set and the match 15-13 (3-2).
While a tough loss, considering how hard the Lady Cats fought to win the game, there is plenty to be proud about. Coach Dorner’s team never quit, even when the going got especially tough.
The loss dropped the Lady Cats volleyball team’s record to 15-11 overall (1-1 district) heading into their third district game tonight versus Marshall.
It will also be the second straight home district game for Coach Dorner’s squad.
Sulphur Springs will host the Marshall Lady Mavs later today in the SSHS Main Gym. Varsity teams will get the action going at 4:30 P.M. followed by the JV and freshman squads at 6 P.M.
The Wildcats football team (0-3) will be back at home tonight for the first time since their Aug. 27 season-opener versus Frisco High.
Tonight’s game, Homecoming for Sulphur Springs, will by no means be an easy one, though, as it is also the first district match for Coach Greg Owens’s program.
The Wildcats are set to host the Crandall Pirates (2-1) tonight at Gerald Prim Stadium at 7:30 P.M. in both teams’ first district game of the fall 2021 season.
Their lone loss came at the hands of the Kaufman Lions, who like in their win versus Sulphur Springs last week was able to pull it out late for Coach Jeramy Burleson’s squad to get another win on the season.
Defensive coordinator Kurt McCain will have his hands full against another potent offense in Crandall when the Pirates come to Gerald Prim Stadium tonight for both teams’ district opener for the fall 2021 season.
KSST has been granted access to livestream Friday’s match on our Youtube channel. Whether we can livestream is dependent on internet access from the Prim press box.
Regardless of livestream capabilities, the game will be broadcasted over the radio on KSST 1230 AM.
As mentioned earlier it is Homecoming for Sulphur Springs, so pictures will be taken at 6 P.M. and the pre-game festivities shall commence at 6:40 P.M.
What is Constitution Week?
Constitution Week is the commemoration of America’s most important document. It is celebrated annually during the week of September 17-23.
The United States Constitution stands as a testament to the tenacity of Americans throughout history to maintain their liberties, freedoms and inalienable rights.
This celebration of the Constitution was started by the Daughters of the American Revolution. In 1955, DAR petitioned Congress to set aside September 17-23 annually to be dedicated for the observance of Constitution Week. The resolution was later adopted by the U.S. Congress and signed into public law on August 2, 1956, by President Dwight D. Eisenhower.
The DAR has also erected a structure that is built in tribute to the Constitution of the United States. DAR Constitution Hall, which is a performing arts center, opened in 1929.
The aims of Constitution Week celebrations are to:
- Emphasize citizens’ responsibilities for protecting and defending the Constitution.
- Inform people that the Constitution is the basis for America’s great heritage and the foundation for our way of life.
- Encourage the study of the historical events which led to the framing of the Constitution in September 1787.
from press release of the Daughters of the American Revolution Headquarters in Washington, D.C.: We’re excited to welcome you back! The DAR Headquarters buildings, including the DAR Museum, DAR Library and DAR Constitution Hall, will reopen to the public on September 1, 2021!
Locally, for almost fifty years the Captain David Phillips Chapter of the DAR has been active in Hopkins County. The Chapter began in October 1972. Officers this year are Marynell Bryant-Regent, Patsy Bolton – Vice Regent, Gail Boles – Chaplain, Barbara Cockrum – Secretary, Debra Wood – Treasurer, Sandy Boyd – Registrar, Jan Kimmel – Historian, Michelle Arnold – Librarian and Elner Pettiet -Parliamentarian.
In past years, the local Chapter has celebrated Constitution Week by hosting a Tea, ringing bells, obtaining proclamations, reading part of the Constitution on the Courthouse steps, and donating posters and books to all the county schools. Thanks to the local DAR for this timely reminder for Americans living in Hopkins County!
“Many towns in North America are struggling financially despite decades of “growth”. Charles Marohn, professional engineer and founder of the Strong Towns movement, will join us to discuss how to improve the trajectory of our town and help us to become more resilient.”Neal Barker
Join guest speaker Charles Marohn and Neal Barker Thursday September 23, 6:00 p.m.-7:30 p.m, at The Venue to gain insight on how Sulphur Springs can improve for it’s self and its’ people.
Sulphur Springs High School kicked off a new program Wednesday designed to help students develop into effective leaders. The Chick-Fil-A Leader Academy is one of the largest leadership academies in America, with 110,000 students from over 1,050 schools in 40 states helping more than 2. 5 million people through impact projects since it launches in 3 schools in 2013.
“Sulphur Springs Chick-Fil-A will be sponsoring our students as they participate in the academy for the 2021-22 school year. Approximately 30 students from different Career & Technical Student Organizations (CTSOs) on our campus have been selected for the program,” said Jenny Arledge, SSHS Director of College and Career Readiness/Career and Technical Education Director.
Students were bussed to The ROC for the kickoff event Wednesday, Sept. 15. Students spent about 3 1/2 hours hearing from various community leaders and individuals about their path to success and leadership, including Sulphur Springs Chick-fil-A Operator Bryson Bullington. Students interacted with each other and the guests, while learning more about the national high school leadership program which challenges schools and students to “re-imagine high school leadership” by focusing on “Impact through Action.”
“After hearing some of hte stories today form past, the alumni. I thought it was really cool to see so many people who have the same vision as me of wanting to impact more people. My main goal in life is to impact as many people as I can and know as many people as I can. Being part of a program that helps me do that, I think, is great,” Harley Speed said at the conclusion of the kickoff event on Sept. 15, 2021.
The Chick-fil-A Leader Academy, created by the service leadership development consultancy organization ADDO (the Latin word for Aspire) to bring a fresh approach to leadership and empower young people to make a difference, has spread across six continents and more than 100 countries around the globe. Up to 30 students per school participate in the academy during seven months of the school year, and culminates with students submitting and end-of -program impact project. Students participate monthly in a web-based leader and under the guidance of a school-appointed teacher, learn principles and insights that allow them to involve potentially hundreds of others in their school, with a goal of eventually impacting thousands in their community.
According to information provided by the organization, 98 percent of students have indicated plans to continue serving others as a result of their Chick-fil-A Leadership Academy experience.
The academy approach is to engage students where they are with something that interests them. Students are introduced to new ideas and insights. The monthly leader labs highlight inspirational and informational ways to make a difference. Students too are equipped with tangible tools for their leadership journey. The approach is designed to help put students’ ideas into practice to positively impact their local communities.
Students will work on vision and goals in October, servant leadership in November and teamwork in December, innovation in January, communication in February and impact in March, then start an impact project. In April they are challenged to consider what they will do next, after they’ve graduated from the program.
Students visited after the kickoff, and expressed excitement to see their final project take shape and the impact it will have on others.
The $4,000 program is full-funded through generous sponsorships from local Chick-fil-As and Coca-Cola, according to https://chickfilaleaderacademy.com/
An interlocal agreement approved this week by Hopkins County Commissioners Court signaled the start of a partnership among city and county firefighters and the local EMS service, formed to go after a regional communications grant.
Hopkins County Fire Marshal Andy Endsley said while the interlocal agreement is between the City of Sulphur Springs Fire Department, Hopkins County Fire Department and Hopkins County EMS, the regional communications grant, if obtained, would benefit volunteer fire departments too.
“This is an agreement we came up with where we are beginning the process to start a regional grant for communications, for mobile radios, handheld radios,” Endsley said.
He noted SSFD “will be leading this grant, meaning they will be taking the bulk of the paperwork.”
Endsley asked the Commissioners Court Monday to approve the interlocal agreement to present along with the application “to show it’s a regional grant.”
“Not only will it help the paid department (HCFD), but it will also be buying new radios for all the volunteer fire departments, the City of Sulphur Springs Fire Department and Hopkins County EMS,” Endsley said.
The grant being sought is an Assistance to Firefighters Grant, which Ensley said, unfortunately, does not extend to include law enforcement. The grant program has existed for about 20 years. In 2011, agencies could apply for grant funding to help obtain infrastructure such as repeaters and consoles as well. That part of the grant has been eliminated. Currently, fire departments can apply for radios for all vehicles and handheld radios for the individuals within them.
Endsley said the county currently has no additional radios to hand out to volunteers, when the departments get new members. In fact, they haven’t had any extras for quite a while. The last time the county got a significant grant of this type was in 2016, when the Local Emergency Planning Committee received a grant to obtain 102 handheld radios. All of those radios have since been distributed to the various departments.
SSFD Chief David James noted not all information regarding the AFG grant requirements has been released, so as yet, it’s not known completely what portion of the grant will have to be matched by recipients. In the past, the percent of the grant the recipients had to come up with was based on population. So, based on that, the local fire department and EMS will likely only be required to come up with about 10 percent of the overall cost for the new radios, maybe a little bit more.
Endsley said basically, each collaborating entity would pay a portion of the local share the grant cost. For instance, if 30 of the total number of units go to SSFD, the city department would put in that percentage of the local share for the grant. The county’s portion of the local grant match will be the largest, because they will have not only HCFD’s percent but also that of the volunteer fire departments that the county provides radios for.
“That’s a huge expense that will be a burden taken off of the volunteers,” Endsley said. “This is a very much-needed grant. It’s time to update our radios.”
If approved, the new radios may not be the same brand that’s currently in use. Electronic technology, including the newest and most advanced in radios, often becomes quickly outdated within a few years. Case in point, it’s near impossible to obtain parts for the current communications devices, so the departments live in hope none need repairs, according to the HCFD chief.
Unfortunately, the older and more use each sees, the more likely it is to begin falling into disrepair or failing. That’s a problem as there are no extra remaining from the last grant to replace them with. Endsley said the departments are evaluating available options from different vendors, weighing which radios would be most cost effective, functional and durable.
After the Commissioners Court unanimously approved the interlocal agreement between HCFD, SSFD and Hopkins County EMS during their regular court session earlier this week, Endsley then obtained their permission to enter into an agreement with Vickers Consulting Services, Inc., for grant writing services for the regional AFG application.
“This is the same grant writer we’ve used several times that’s been very successful for us in a lot of areas on the fire department side. We are very satisfied with that end. It would be a percentage of what we would need. Each entity would help split out paying that end of the bill. This is something we need to move forward with for the grant as they would actually be doing the grant-writing for us,” Endsley said.
Approximately 50 persons took advantage of the opportunity over lunch Wednesday to hear an update directly from State Rep. Bryan Slaton and State Senator Bob Hall regarding the recent 87th Texas Legislature sessions, during a Lunch and Learn meeting. The town hall meeting on Sept. 15, 2021 was sponsored by the Hopkins County Chamber of Commerce, with Atmos Energy and Oncor as contributing sponsors, at Sulphur Springs Country Club. Chamber CEO Butch Burney introduced the lawmakers to the audience.
Rep. Slaton noted that while “nothing’s been normal in 2021” – lawmakers have spent 8-9 months in Austin instead of just weeks in two special sessions so far and a third special session planned– some good has come out of the recent cessions, with some of it COVID- related.
Both Hall and Slaton explained how their prior backgrounds have aided them in their service to District 2, and both talked about topics that related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Rep. Slaton used his background in ministry – attending seminary and 13 years as a minister before earning a BA in business/accounting from the University of North Texas – to offer an option for constituents of District 2 whose family members were cloistered in nursing homes according to state orders as a preventive measure during the first part of the 2020 COVID pandemic. This included many nursing home residents so isolated in the imposed shelter that they died without comfort of their family around them.
Realizing that ministers were excepted from the visitation ban, Slaton began encouraging laymen facing the ban to become ministers, specifically “a member of religious counsel.” That is now law, Slaton said. He believes allowing nursing facility residents to see family members gives them a moral boost, which in turn improves their health.
Both Slaton and Hall emphasized strongly their belief that religious services are essential, a freedom that must be upheld.
Another pandemic-related problem involved school children having to be schooled at home for months without adequate access, and in many rural communities no access, to Internet service and technology to be able to access their lessons posted online.
Slaton said he filed an amendment to the Rural Broadband bill months ahead of other legislation, but as a freshman legislator, had little voice. His attention, however, did help bring private schools to the top of the list for assistance.
Election security and redistricting too were addressed during the recent sessions.
Slaton said he had a hand in the “Election Integrity” bill, calling for the Secretary of State to make random audits of all counties. That would involve making two lists, one for those with a population of less than 300,000 and a separate list of those with over 300,000 residents. This is pitched as a means to try to determine whether election fraud and illegal voting are being carried out in the 254 counties, and if so, how. Proving and prosecuting election fraud continues to prove a challenge, according to Slaton.
Hall too touted Election Integrity or Election Security as an accomplishment of the 87th Legislature. Passed in the second session, the congressman said the bill was much stronger than the one that did not get passed in the first session. He said the added features will “make it easier to vote and harder to cheat.” No barriers or difficulties to voters were raised with it’s passage. Previously, few penalties existed for voter cheating, even with evidence. The District 2 Congressman noted that with 254 different processes across the state, ensuring election security will continue to be a big job.
Slaton during the lunch session reported that redistricting of representative seats will be considered every 10 years, following the census, in the future.
Some notable things District 2 Senator Bob Hall remarked on from this year’s sessions included the state budget, and reform initiated as a result of SNOVID 2021.
Hall said the Texas budget is as large as it’s size and setting it is a huge undertaking. This year, for instance the budget was reduced from $262 billion to $248 billion. He pointed out that if Texas were a separate country, budget-wise, it would be the 7th largest in the world. He believes a lot of our budget allocations are wasted.
“Snovid,” Hall said, showed the state’s power grid system hasn’t been properly protected during his term, and officials needs to do better. Electrical power cannot be stored, like water in a tank, Hall said. Should Texas’ power grid totally go down it would take months to rebuild. He attributed the state’s policies toward power generation to the power shut downs during Snovid, not wind or solar power. Those existing policies limited our gas-related industries, forcing them to operate at less than maximum, instead of helping the dire situation during those February days. Actually, the state came within seconds of a Blackstart, that is, losing the entire power grid during a disaster to the point it would have to be rebuilt from scratch, according to Hall.
Resulting from this year’s session and discussions are Legislative action which Hall considers successes. These include ERCOT Reform with a complete annual audit of the Public Utility Commission (PUC), and in education, counseling and tutoring initiatives to help schools and students recover from ‘the lost year’, or the months of instruction lost due to school closures and forced distance-learning during the COVID-19 pandemic. Hall noted that while the measure likely won’t be enough to boost the the past couple of years’ juniors and seniors to pre-pandemic levels, it should help younger students catch up.
While both elected officials were glad to be part of some of the change affected by the regular and special Legislative session, they too supported and filed other bills that didn’t make it out of session. In fact, only 1 in every 5 or 6 of the 7,000-plus bills filed were passed in the first regular session.
Hall noted a few of those other proposed bills he supported or filed included:
- Proposal to redistrict with 2 new Congressional seats added for Texas, using I-35 –where the most population growth has occurred in recent years – as a center point and working outward, shuffling existing districts to create one new district to the East and another to the West of I-35 corridor. Proposed maps are being made to the public and public hearings being held virtually, according to Hall.
- Restricting UIL participation in women’s sports to women born girls. He is not in favor of transgender women being allowed to play on women’s teams.
- Vaccine mandates by government entities. Hall described the COVID vaccine is a medical experiment which should never be forced. Hall reminded the audience that during WW2, individuals as well as groups of people were forced by government mandate into medical experiments. Unlike then, today’s objectors to COVID vaccine should have the right to refuse. He cited “my body, my choice” as his belief.
- A tethering bill for dogs tied outside – Hall said while he believes there needs to be legislation on the issue, the bill as it exists needs more work and modification. He noted that as proposed, the tethered leash bill could affect treatment of law enforcement animals.
- A law to prevent authorization for children under age 12 who seek a sex change from having sexual or reproductive organs removed.
- Allowing some of the medications such as Ivermectin or similar products and infusions for early treatment or prevention of COVID, instead of vaccines and boosters for prevention of the coronavirus.
At the conclusion of the hour-long Lunch and Learn, a few questions were posed by members of the audience and answered in brief form before the pair of lawmakers were off to another destination in the state.