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"Kill 'Em Varmints Hunting Tournament" set

GILMER--The Gilmer Area Chamber of Commerce will hold its first "Kill 'Em Varmints Hunting Tournament," in which hunters will seek pests ranging from skunks to coyotes, Aug. 14-16.

Some 75 percent of the entry fees ($100 per two-member team) will be awarded as prizes. The number of prizes will depend on the number of teams entering.

Winning will be based on a point system of 35 points for bobcats, 20 for coyotes, 15 for skunks, 10 for armadillos and five for raccoons. The number of "varmints" a team can enter is unlimited.

Under contest rules, teams may hunt anywhere in Texas. All entrants must have a valid hunting license, each team is responsible for disposing of its kills, and no helpers nor dogs can be used.

Hunters can be on only one team and each team must designate a captain.

Entry fees must be received by 5 p.m. Aug. 14, when hunting opens at 5:30 p.m. Check-in time on Sunday, Aug. 16, is 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. in front of the Yamboree Exhibit Building at the Yamboree Grounds off U.S. 271.

Teams must be checked in before 1 p.m. to qualify for prize money. 

Entry fees can be brought to the chamber office at 106 Buffalo on the downtown square, or mailed to the organization at Post Office Box 854, Gilmer, Texas 75644.

For rules and entry forms, visit the chamber or its website at www.gilmerareachamber.com, or its Facebook group, Upshur County Goes Hog Wild. Information is also available by calling 903-843-2413 or 903-790-3159.

Jeff Dodd is chairman of the event.

 

 

 

UPSHUR APPROVES NEW PHONE SYSTEM

BY PHILLIP WILLIAMS/Correspondent

GILMER--Upshur County Commissioners Court last Wednesday accepted a $129,900 bid from Gilmer-based Etex Telephone for a new phone system for county offices and maintenance on it

County offices have been plagued by telephone problems for some time, and the court chose to purchase a new system rather than having maintenance on the current one. Commissioners chose Etex's bid over that of another Gilmer firm, Telephone Specialists Inc., after hearing at least one representative of each business.

Under the deal, the court will pay for a dial tone and new system over 60 months. The new system is a "voice over internet protocol" with new switches and new wiring, County Judge Dean Fowler said after the meeting.

Court members said after the meeting that the court had received a bid of $1,570 monthly from TSI just for maintaining the old system. Although the monthly payment for the new setup and installation combined is $2,165, it amounts to only $1,465 because the county is eliminating an "overriding service" with Etex that currently costs $700 monthly, Pct. 3 Commissioner Frank Berka said afterward.

Fowler told this newspaper TSI also submitted a bid for a completely new system which was "perfectly good," but "not really comparable" to Etex's technology-wise. The judge said TSI's bid was submitted some time ago and that he did not recall the amount.

At Wednesday's meeting, County Librarian Cynthia King, District Clerk Karen Bunn and county Road Administrator Andy Jordan told the court about phone problems in their respective offices.

"We do have some days. . .(when) the phone doesn't work," King said, "but we're on a completely different system" from other county offices.

Bunn said the extension lights on her office phone did not work, meaning she has to get up and go see whose line is ringing. In addition, she said, her employees "can't transfer calls to me" and "I can't answer it from my office." 

Jordan, asked by the court about his service, said "Our office loses phones, mainly in bad weather. That's the one time we really need a telephone."

In other business Wednesday, the court made an exception to an aspect of the county health plan for two employees, which will allow the county to reimburse them for charges which were taken out of their paychecks by the third-party administrator, HealthFirst in Tyler.

In separate votes, the court exempted Deputy District Clerk Taylor Weeks and a jail employee, Glen Johnson, after they reportedly did not return phone calls related to a prescription drug program because they did not know what the calls concerned

The vote on reimbursing Johnson was conditional upon his complying with the program. Fowler said Weeks already has done so..

Fowler said Johnson, who did not attend Wednesday's meeting, thought the call was from a salesman. Weeks told the court she did too. Her boss, Bunn, said everyone in her office had received a call except Weeks, and Bunn asked the employee be reimbursed.

The court approved reimbursing Johnson and Weeks $60 each. Both had had $30 deducted from each of two paychecks. 

In other business Wednesday, the court:

--took no action on improving the 115th District Courtroom's sound system. "We're still waiting on some proposals," Fowler said.

--recorded County Auditor Brandy Lee's certification of receiving grant or aid money available for disbursement this fiscal year, but not included in the original budget. In the same vote, the court adopted a special budget for the funds.

Fowler said the funds involved such matters as education for offices of constables, the district attorney and sheriff, and Lee said Walmart had awarded a grant to Sheriff Anthony Betterton's office.

--recorded the replat of Barton Springs lots 70 and 74 in phase four of the subdivision.

--took no action on amending its minutes from Sept. 30, 2014 on accepting Grace Lane into the county road system. Pct. 1 Commissioner Paula Gentry said that matter "has worked itself out."

 

 

FINAL DEFENDANT IN GAMMAGE MURDER SENTENCED TO LIFE

BY PHILLIP WILLIAMS/Correspondent

GILMER--Andrew Conrad Norwine, the last of three co-defendants to plead guilty in the 2012 slaying of Ronnie Joe Gammage, was sentenced to life imprisonment by a judge June 16 after the charge against him was reduced from capital murder to murder.

Norwine, 23, of Arlington, will not be eligible for parole under current law for 30 years, and waived his right to appeal the sentence assessed by 115th District Judge Lauren Parish on a plea bargain. 

Norwine's co-defendants, Longview residents Daniel Paul Jones and Sarah Haslam, were sentenced to life without parole after pleading guilty to capital murder. Jones was sentenced in October 2013, Haslam in February 2014, both by Parish.

Gammage, 27, of Longview, was abducted in that city Dec. 5, 2012 before his throat was cut and his corpse set afire, Upshur County District Attorney Billy Byrd has said. The remains of the victim, who suffered from disabilities, were found that Dec. 19 in a pasture on Martin Road in Diana before the suspects were arrested that month, according to Byrd.

Byrd, who represented the state at Tuesday's sentencing, told this newspaperthe charge against Norwine was reduced because it would have been "very difficult to prove" he had a role in the kidnapping, which would have been required for a capital murder conviction. (Unlike murder, capital murder is punishable only by lethal injection or life imprisonment without parole.)

However, Norwine was with the other defendants when they abducted Gammage at gunpoint from a Waffle House on Loop 281, did nothing to stop it, later physically assaulted the victim, and encouraged Jones to cut Gammage's throat with a multi-purpose tool which included a knife, Byrd said.

All three defendants were "highly" intoxicated on a variety of illegal drugs, and Jones and Haslam sold drugs, the district attorney added. He said Jones and Haslam, who had met Norwine for the first time only a few days earlier in Dallas, targeted Gammage because they thought he "befriended a person they believed was a snitch against them."

After the abduction, Gammage was driven to a location off Tryon Road in that city, where Jones and Haslam assaulted him, said Byrd. The group then went to Upshur County, where all three defendants assaulted the victim before Jones cut his throat, the prosecutor said.

The defendants then drove to the home of Jones' parents in Longview and obtained a 5-gallon jug of gasoline, which Jones and Haslam poured on the body, Byrd added.

Longview attorney John W. Moore, who along with fellow court-appointed Wood County/Dallas County attorney Doug Parks, represented Norwine, told this newspaper thatthe murder was the "result of a very unfortunate circumstance that shows what drugs can do to a good person."

At the sentencing, Byrd said Gammage's mother, sister and brother had approved the plea bargain. He also said Norwine was absent without leave from the United States Army in Fort Polk. La., when the slaying occurred, and had been dishonorably discharged.

An aggravated kidnapping charge against Norwine in Gregg County was taken into consideration at the sentencing, meaning that county will not pursue it.

The bespectacled, clean-shaven, short-haired Norwine showed no outward emotion during the proceedings, which concluded with a victim impact statement from Gammage's sister, Angela Dees. She told Norwine "you had the chance to walk away" from the other two defendants, who she said Norwine hardly knew, to get help for her brother, "but you chose not to."

 

She said she hoped someone would also decline to get Norwine help sometime and told him "I hope and pray you will never, ever, ever see the light of day again."

 

Rangerettes name 36 young women after week-long tryout

Surrounded by hopes, dreams and years of tradition, 36 young women became the newest members of the world-famous Kilgore College Rangerettes dance and drill team this morning.

 

The announcement, made in a closed ceremony in Dodson Auditorium on the Kilgore campus, culminates a week-long process of 96 hopefuls vying for a coveted position on the 76th Rangerette line.

 

The new Rangerettes will join 36 sophomores to make a line of 72.

 

The Rangerettes were the first of their kind when they began in 1940 as a vision of the late Gussie Nell Davis. 

 

The Rangerettes were the first of their kind when they began in 1940 as a vision of the late Gussie Nell Davis. The organization created a unique combination of dance moves and precision drills that quickly earned them the reputation not only as the originators of dance/drill teams, but as the best in the world.

 

Known for their high kicks and the jump splits, the organization has traveled around the world, entertained millions and spurred a multi-billion-dollar dance/drill team industry worldwide.

 

For more information, visit www.Rangerette.com.

 

 

The new freshman members of the 2015-16 Rangerettes, listed alphabetically:


Gabriela Azios – Cedar Park
Hannah Burns
 – Sachse

Madison Cashion – College Station

McKenna Cook – Haslet

Morgan Covin – Gilmer

Emma Cox – Rockwall

MacKenzie Cumpian – Beaumont

Kyla Drake – College Station

Allison Eigsti – Shawnee (Kan.)

Debra Elliott – Flower Mound

Autumn Fleet – Tyler

Taylor Gallaway – Sealy

Tea Jaime – Arlington

Keilin Jeter – Tyler

Lauren Kite – League City

Payton Kornegay – Deer Park

Lauren Ligon – Richardson

Caroline Lucke – Baytown

Cameron Maldonado – Austin

Monica McCarson – Fort Worth

Maddie Minser – Whitehouse

Skylar Morgan – Mount Pleasant

Elise Padilla – Austin

Holly Patterson – Longview

Abby Penprase – McKinney

Erin Phillips – Rowlett

Emily Posey – Rowlett

Shaena Rinehart – Nederland

Megan Roberts – Richardson

Annie Rojas – Garland

Ramsey Shobe – Pflugerville

Emma Soard – Belton

Barbara Vega – Katy

Emma Walls – Plano

Olivia Westmoreland – Georgetown

Juliana Yolland – Baytown

 

WHAT'S HAPPENING -JUNE 17, 2015

Gladewater Museum reception June 22

The Gladewater Museum will host a reception honoring Lisa Worley from the Texas Historical Commission on Monday, June 22 from 5:30 p.m. until 7 p.m. The community is warmly encouraged to attend the event. Worley will be spending two days at the museum assessing exhibits and contributing suggestions on way to enhance exhibits. 

The museum is located at 116 W. Pacific Ave. and is open on Fridays and Saturdays from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. and by appointment. For information please call 903-845-7608 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Saints United Choir to perform

The combined choirs of St. James Baptist Church and First Baptist Church invite the community to attend a night of praise and worship on Sunday, June 14 at 6 p.m. at First Baptist Church Gladewater at 300 W. Upshur Ave. There will be a family meal and fellowship following the service. Everyone is warmly invited to attend.

SFA to host bass fishing tournament

NACOGDOCHES  – Stephen F. Austin State University’s Campus Recreation will host the third annual Worsham Bass Fishing Tournament Saturday, June 27, at Jackson Hill Park and Marina on Lake Sam Rayburn in Broaddus.

 All proceeds will benefit the Dr. Raymond Lee Worsham Scholarship for SFA Campus Recreation, established by the SFA Alumni Association.

 Dr. Raymond “Ray” Worsham was director of the SFA Intramural Department for more than four decades. The scholarship honors Worsham’s dedication and his positive impact on the university. It will provide financial assistance to student employees of Campus Recreation.

 Tournament participants can register online at www.sfaalumni.com/event/Bass2015; mail a registration form to the SFA Alumni Association; or register at the Jackson Hill Park and Marina boat ramp before the start of the tournament on Saturday.

 Cash prizes will be given for first, second and third place, as well as in the “big bass” and “small bass” categories. Cost is $80 per boat with an optional $50 side pot. 

 For more information, contact Travis Lankford at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or the SFA Alumni Association at (936) 468-3407.

Legislators to speak in Gilmer

GILMER--U.S. Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-Heath) and State Rep. David Simpson (R-Longview) will be among speakers for the June 19 quarterly meeting of the Upshur County Republican Party’s Executive Committee, said county GOP Chairman Cynthia Ridgeway.

They, and potential candidates for Upshur County office in 2016, will speak at the 6 p.m. gathering at Indian Rock Baptist Church on Texas 154 west of Gilmer.

The meeting is open to the public. Attendees have the option of eating a meal for a $5 donation to help pay the church for using its building, Ridgeway said.

Ratcliffe, who held a town hall meeting in Gilmer in early April, is in his first term representing the Fourth Congressional District, which includes most of Upshur County. (U.S. Rep. Louie Gohmert, a Tyler Republican, represents the rest of Upshur County in his First Congressional District.)

Simpson, who represents Gregg and Upshur Counties, intends to announce his political plans for 2016 on June 22.

4H Safety Camp on tap June 30

A 4-H Safety Camp for youth ages 9-19 is scheduled June 30 at the Pritchett Community Center on FM Road 1404 near Big Sandy.

Hours are 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The event, sponsored by the Upshur County and Camp County offices of Texas A&M AgriLife Extension, will feature training in kitchen and food safety, and training concerning all-terrain vehicles.  

Following the morning session on kitchen and food safety, attendees will “make a healthy recipe for lunch,” according to a flyer promoting the event. The afternoon session on ATVs will not include riding one.

Fee to attend is $15, which includes the price of lunch. Registration and payment must be received by June 19 at the Upshur extension office, located in the old Gilmer National Bank motor bank building at 101 E. Cass.

All youngsters ages 9-19 are welcome to attend, regardless of where they live or whether they are 4-H members. For more information, contact the Upshur extension office at 903-843-4019 or the Camp County extension office at 903-856-5005.

Fried Chicken fund raiser slated

GILMER--Fried chicken lunches prepared by Norma Tomlin and Ann Glenn will be sold June 18 to raise funds for the Upshur County Community Fund.

The event is scheduled from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Yamboree Exhibit Building, located at the Yamboree grounds on U.S. 271 a short distance north of Walmart.

Take-out orders will be available. For more information, contact the Gilmer Area Chamber of Commerce at 903-843-2413.

State historic sites offer free summer admission for active duty military, families

AUSTIN —This summer, active military personnel and their families get free admission to the Texas Historical Commission’s (THC) State Historic Sites through the Blue Star Museum Program.

From Memorial Day (May 25) through Labor Day (Sept. 7) the free admission program is available to any bearer of a Geneva Convention common access card (CAC), a DD Form 1173 (dependent ID), or a DD Form 1173-1 ID card.

THC’s 19 State Historic Sites are all participating in the free admission program. Many of THC’s participating sites have recently had improvements made including new Visitors Centers at Caddo Mounds State Historic Site in Alto and Fort Griffin State Historic Site in Albany. A number of the sites are dedicated to preserving the memory of military service in Texas, such as the National Museum of the Pacific War in Fredericksburg and Fort McKavett in Fort McKavett, Texas.

Blue Star Museums is a collaboration among the National Endowment for the Arts, Blue Star Families, and the Department of Defense. This year, more than 2,000 museums in all 50 states are taking part in the initiative, including more than 500 new museums.

For more information on the THC’s Historic Sites, visit www.texashistoricsites.com. To find participating museums and plan your trip, visit www.arts.gov/bluestarmuseums.

Upshur County Library Storytime

GILMER--Two books will be read to children at both of the Upshur County Library’s weekly “Storytime” sessions Thursday.

“Daddy is My Hero” by Dawn Richards, and “The Best Father’s Day Present Ever” by Christine Loomis, will be presented during the 10 a.m. and 4:15 p.m. sessions.

A craft will follow each Storytime at the library, 702 W. Tyler, said Debbie White of the Children’s Services division.

The events are free to the public, but children under age 12 must be accompanied by an adult. For more information, call the library at (903) 843-5001. 

 Juneteenth softball tourney June 20

A Juneteenth Softball Tournament is scheduled for June 20 at 8 a.m. at Broughton & Timpson Park in Longview. For information call 903-331-8271.

Glade FBC Vacation Bible School

First Baptist Church, Gladewater will host a “Journey Off the Map” Vacation Bible School June 22-26 from 5:30 p.m. until 8:30 p.m. each night. Dinner will be provided.

On this “expedition of a lifetime”, children will discover how Jesus is the Ultimate Guide. The VBS is free and open to all children ages 4 through sixth grade.

There will be a Family Night event on Friday, June 26 with parents invited to join their children at 6:45 p.m. for a program followed by a free meal. 

First Baptist Church, Gladewater is located at 300 W. Upshur Ave. For transportation or more information, contact the church office at 903-845-2171.

Banks join forces to minister to military

Austin Bank, along with five other Texas community banks joined together with “Ministering Our Military” (M.O.M.) to support active duty service personnel. 

Throughout June until July 10 a donation drive will be held at Gladewater’s Austin Bank to collect items and raise money to send care packages. 

Donation items include Amazon and iTune gift cards, microwaveable food goods, olive drab T-shirts, crew or boot socks, foot powder, toothbrushes, seeds, nuts, trail mix, dried fruit, protein bars, beef jerky, electrolyte drink mixes and cotton swabs. 

Tax deductible financial donations may be made payable to “Ministering Our Military”. Items and donations may be dropped off during banking hours in the lobby of Austin Bank on Highway 80. 

For information call 903-844-2805.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

TOP TALENT ON TAP IN PARADISE

 

 Lyle Lovett tom perform in Paradise

Lyle Lovett will bring his unique style to the Paradise Theater Saturday, August 22 at 8 p.m..

A singer, composer and actor, Lyle Lovett has broadened the definition of American music in a career that spans 14 albums. Coupled with his gift for storytelling, the Texas-based musician fuses elements of country, swing, jazz, folk, gospel and blues in a convention-defying manner that breaks down barriers. Lovett has appeared in 13 feature films, and on stage and television. Among his many accolades, besides the four Grammy Awards, he was given the Americana Music Association’s inaugural Trailblazer Award, and was recently named the Texas State Musician.

Garden & Gun recently called Lovett “one of America’s most beloved singer/songwriters,” and he was featured in the coveted “What I’ve Learned” column in the February 2012 issue of Esquire.

Lovett has been touring in support of Release Me since its release in February, 2012. The album was #1 for several weeks on the Americana charts. Produced by Nathaniel Kunkel and Lovett, Release Me represents the end of an era as it was his last record for Curb/Universal Music Group after being on the label for his entire career. Release Me is quintessential Lyle, mixing a smart collection of originals and songs written by some of his favorite songwriters that show not only the breadth of this Texas legend’s deep talents, but also the diversity of his influences, making him one of the most infectious and fascinating musicians in popular music.

Since his self-titled debut in 1986, Lyle Lovett has evolved into one of music’s most vibrant and iconic performers. His oeuvre, rich and eclectic, is one of the most beloved of any living artist working today.

Tickets go on sale Friday, May 29 starting at $30 via Ticketmaster. Tickets are also available at the Margaritaville Retail Store.

 

 Robert Earl Keen coming to Paradise Theater

 Robert Earl Keen will be performing live in the Paradise Theater Friday, July 3 at 8 p.m.

Three-decades on from the release of his debut album — with well over a dozen other records to his name, thousands of shows under his belt and still no end in sight to the road ahead — Robert Earl Keen remains as committed to and inspired by his muse as ever. And as for accruing recognition, well, he’s done alright on that front, too; from his humble beginnings on the Texas folk scene, he’s blazed a peer, critic, and fan-lauded trail that’s earned him living-legend (not to mention pioneer) status in the Americana music world. 

And though the Houston native has never worn his Texas heart on his sleeve, he’s long been regarded as one of the Lone Star State’s finest (not to mention top-drawing) true singer-songwriters. He was still a relative unknown in 1989 when his second studio album, West Textures, was released — especially on the triple bill he shared at the time touring with legends Townes Van Zandt and Guy Clark — but once fellow Texas icon Joe Ely recorded both “The Road Goes on Forever” and “Whenever Kindness Fails” on his 1993 album, Love and Danger, the secret was out on Keen’s credentials as a songwriter’s songwriter. By the end of the decade, Keen was a veritable household name in Texas, headlining a millennial New Year’s Eve celebration in Austin that drew an estimated 200,000 people. 

A dozen years later, he was inducted into the Texas Heritage Songwriters Hall of Fame along with the late, great Van Zandt and his old college buddy, Lyle Lovett. 

Tickets went on sale Tuesday, June 2 starting at $15 via Ticketmaster. Tickets are also available at the Margaritaville Retail Store. 

 Jana Kramer performing live in the Paradise Theater

If you ask Jana Kramer to describe her life in this very moment she would say, “Dreams really do come true.” The singer/songwriter/actress has already had success with three songs that were featured on The CW’s “One Tree Hill,” where she plays the firecracker actress, Alex Dupre. Jana will debut a fourth song on “One Tree Hill” this upcoming season that will air mid- January.

 She will perform Saturday, September 5 at 8 p.m. at the Paradise Theater at Margaritaville in Bossier City.

 Growing up in Detroit, Jana is no stranger to the rich history of country music, crediting one of her favorite memories to baking cookies with her grandmother while listening to Patsy Cline. These little moments are one of the many reasons why Jana hopes to share her music with others.

And she’s doing just that as the singer-songwriter is lighting up country music with her emotionally moving songs and sweet, country vocals, already selling nearly 200,000 digital singles in less than six months. All eyes are on Jana as she boldly graces country music with a fresh, new sound and powerful new music.

“Country music is in my blood. I love country music because it tells a story and I have a lot of stories to tell.”

Tickets went on sale Friday, June 12 starting at $20 via Ticketmaster. Tickets are also available at the Margaritaville Retail Store.

 

Simpson, Hughes seek senate seat

By Jim Bardwell

State Senator Kevin Eltife’s decision to not seek re-election has several hats being tossed into the Senate District 1 political arena - including state representatives David Simpson (R-Longview) and Bryan Hughes (R-Mineola).

Both candidates represent or have represented portions of Senate District 1, which covers Bowie, Camp, Cass, Franklin, Gregg, Harrison, Lamar, Marion, Morris, Panola, Red River, Rusk, Smith, Titus, Upshur and Wood counties.

Both Hughes and Simpson have been at odds with House Speaker Joe Straus and announced challenges to the seat going into the 2013 session.

“Taking the cause of everyday citizens to the floor of the Texas House, I have sought to govern with the principles of liberty and limited government. This is not popular with Austin insiders and the establishment, but it must be done if we are to be free and responsible for our own lives, to live in peace and to prosper. On June 22, I will announce the details of the next chapter in this campaign for Texas and liberty, and I look forward to working alongside each of you as we limit government to its proper role and promote individual liberty in Texas,” Simpson said.

Hughes said “After a lot of prayer and counsel from family and friends, today (Monday) I’m announcing my candidacy for the Texas Senate. I’ve had the privilege of representing much of East Texas already in the House, and I’m looking forward to visiting with old friends and meeting new ones all across this corner of Texas.  In the House I’ve gained a reputation as a conservative, independent voice for East Texas, and I want to continue that work in the Texas Senate.”

 Eltife decision not to run for re-election in 2016, brings to a close more than two decades in public service. Eltife said after 23 years, “I have to honestly say I need to take a step back, spend more time with my family and friends and recharge my batteries.”  While Eltife says he will not seek re-election, some political experts have suggested the Tyler native may launch a run for the US House of Representatives - the seat currently held by fellow Tyler resident Louie Gohmert. 

Both Simpson and Hughes are scheduled to address next Monday night’s monthly meeting of East Texans for Liberty. The event is set for 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the Disabled American Veterans post No. 204 on U.S. 271, across from Walmart. 

The two legislators will report on the recently-concluded session of the 84th Texas Legislature and answer questions.

, said McMahan. They will be given equal time, she said, adding her organization plans to co-sponsor a Feb. 1 debate between candidates for the Texas Senate District 1 seat.