Last updateTue, 25 Aug 2015 3pm

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Community College value underfunded by state

By Suzanne Bardwell

Kilgore College, along with other community colleges must sometimes feel like the hardworking employee that gets called on to do the heavy lifting but is taken for granted when the state payday rolls around.

According to the Texas Association of Community Colleges’ stats the pie is not being divided fairly when it comes to state support. According to state enrollment statistics community colleges enroll 54 percent of the state’s college students, 75 percent of freshmen and sophomores and 78 percent of all Texas minority students.

Despite those stats Texas’ community colleges only get 12 percent of the higher education budget while 4-year state universities get 41 percent, other higher education agencies get 28 percent, health related institutions get 18 percent and Texas State Technical Institutions get 1 percent.

In dollar value though it appears the state has an underappreciated bargain in community colleges like Kilgore with the state cost per student at community colleges a budget happy $2,506 per student as compared to $10,924 at a state university, or the high dollar education of technical college per student cost at $14,923 according to the state report Fiscal Size Up 2014-2015.

Often one of the counter arguments to community college success are the graduation rates which do not take into account the numbers of students who do not choose to get an associate’s degree before pursuing higher education or those who do not pursue a 4-year degree but go into the work force

Despite those factors the graduation statistics do warrant a greater effort in keeping students in community college to prepare them for higher education or career certification programs.

Community colleges also often do the heavy lifting when it comes to college readiness remediation. Of more than 95,000 first-time-in-college students at community colleges, just 34,000 met college-ready standards in math, reading and writing. The rest were required by state law to pass at least one developmental education course, for no college credit, as a condition of enrollment. All entering students must take tests required by the Texas Success Initiative meant to rate their ability to do college freshman level work. 

With all the obstacles presented Kilgore College does indeed prove value on the dollar with their results. First, students who live in KC’s taxing district which includes Gladewater, White Oak and Sabine ISDs, the savings are a whopping $69 per college hour compared to out-of-district students at $130 per college hour. 

There are also a host of courses now offered on area high school campuses, including GHS, White Oak and Sabine that allows students to acquire college hours while enrolled in high school. 

Those courses, depending on school district, include U.S. History 1301 and 1302, Music Appreciation, Government, English 1301 and 1302. 

Web courses are also available for local high school students and include Statistics, Environmental Science, Environmental Biology, Astronomy, Psychology, Sociology, College Algebra and Trigonometry.

Those dual credit courses are a parent’s dream at a cost of only $115 for a 3-hour course with additional fees for labs and web courses. Welding and auto mechanics are available also but a bit more expensive than the traditional courses.

With bargain basement prices, dedicated remediation courses and the vast array of dual credit courses available to high school students Kilgore College proves to be a budget saver for students and parents despite the inequities of state funding.



Upshur ESD calls for tax election, tax hike



The Upshur County Emergency Services District has called a Nov. 3 election on inceasing its tax rate from the current three cents per $100 valuation to seven cents.

The five-member ESD board unanimously called the election Aug. 10 because the three-cent rate is inadequately funding the district, which provides financial aid to the county’s 12 rural fire departments, said board Vice-Chairman Cloddie Henson.

Voters who reside in the city limits of Gilmer, Ore City, Big Sandy and Gladewater cannot vote in the election since those cities are not included in the district. However, all other Upshur County voters may participate.

Henson said last week that under current funding, the district is “barely maintaining our status quo” when it needs to upgrade rural firefighters’ equipment. And grant funding from the state for that purpose, which helped Upshur rural departments obtain new trucks over a period of past years, is now “pretty much unavailable,” he added.

As an example of why the district is seeking the tax hike, Henson said he believed the Simpsonville Volunteer Fire Department has a 1984 model truck which is “past its prime,” and which needs a brand-new, or at least newer used model, engine.

The district has budgeted $15,000 for work on the vehicle, but that still leaves the department with a truck which is “basically worn out,” Henson said.

In addition, he said, the Pritchett Volunteer Fire Department is “limping along” with an aging tanker and needs to upgrade. Too, any rural fire department in the county has “some piece of equipment that needs to be replaced,” he asserted.

The district sets an individual budget for each rural department and reimburses the departments for expenses within the budget, Henson said. Although the four aforementioned cities are not in the district, they contract with it to fight fires outside their city limits, “so really all the departments (in the county) benefit from the ESD,”  he argued.

As for grants, which once paid 75 or 90 percent of the cost of a new truck for a rural department, Henson noted that Simpsonsville VFD has applied for one, but been told “we’re way down on the list” of departments who might receive it.

In addition, he pointed out, some trucks obtained with grant monies in the past are now about 10 years old.




WHAT'S HAPPENING - August 25, 2015

GISD Golden Bear Club available

Any resident of Gladewater Independent School District 65 years of age or older, or retired GISD employee, is eligible for membership in the Golden Bear Club.

Club members receive free admission to school programs, plays, musical performances and general admission seating at all home athletic events sponsored by GISD.

Interested residents need to provide proof of GISD residency with driver’s license to Dena Sloan at the Administration Building at 500 W. Quitman Street. For information call 903-845-6994.

GFD tower fundraiser

set for Aug. 29

A fundraiser to assist the Gladewater Fire Department in renovating the fire tower for training purposes will be held Saturday, Aug. 29 from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m. at the fire department at 511 S. Tyler.

The fundraiser will provide bratwurst, hot dogs, boudin, baked beans, chips, cookies and drink for $5. The meal can be picked up or bring a lawn chair and visit. Financial donations may be dropped off that day or at the fire department. For information about material donation call Chief Wayne Smith at 903-845-2484.

Pritchett VFD sets Saturday fundraiser

Tables are available for rent to sell goods at the Pritchett Community Center’s yard sale and bake sale Saturday, a fundraiser designed to benefit the Pritchett Volunteer Fire Department.

The event, scheduled to be held annually, is set from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the center on FM Road 1404, a short distance from the intersection with Texas Highway 155.

Tables may be rented for $10 and citizens are encouraged to use them to “sell some of your excess treasures,” according to a flyer promoting the event. Also encouraged are the donation of fresh-baked, pre-wrapped goods such as cookies for sale inside the center.

While the community center has some tables, citizens are encouraged to lend others with their names on them. Proceeds from the table rentals and bake sale will go to the fire department, according to the flyer designed by Mary Anne Farrow, who is assisting Lisa Sneed publicize the fundraiser.

For more information on the event, call 903-841-2982 or 903-734-5042.

Upshur County Library Storytime set

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

“Fraidy Zoo” by Thyra Heder, and “Baking Day at Grandma’s” by Anika Denise, will be presented at 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.

Joint church service set for Sept. 13

GILMER--John Dansby will speak on “The Road to Victory” at a joint service of several area congregations of the Church of Christ at the Gilmer Civic Center on Sunday, Sept. 13.

The event is set for 5 p.m. Doors open at 4 p.m. and area congregations are asked to move their services to the civic center for this day only.

Dansby, minister of the Russell Road Church of Christ in Shreveport, La., is a board member of Southwestern Christian College in Terrell.

Attendees are requested to bring either six sandwiches, or 12 sandwiches cut into quarters, salads, or desserts.

For more information, contact Mark Engel, minister of the Gilmer Church of Christ, at 903-843-2731.

Youth soccer registration underway

GILMER--Registration to play in the Upshur County Youth Soccer Association this fall is underway, and membership is not limited to county residents.

The association is for boys and girls ages 4-19. Youngsters may sign up online through Sept. 4, or at the East Texas Yamboree pavilion at the Yamboree grounds on U.S. 271 in Gilmer from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 29.

Registration fee is $65 online at, $60 in person, said association President John Shuler.

Those interested in coaching, or more information on the association, can contact him at 903-431-3856 or at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Forage conference

in Gilmer Aug. 28

GILMER--The Upshur County office of Texas A&M Agrilife Extension will hold its annual East Texas Regional Forage Conference Aug. 28 at the Yamboree Grounds.

Topics are irrigating forage crops, options in winter forage (planning and planting), best practices of winter forage utilization, how to lower cost inputs (“a producer’s perspective”) and new pasture herbicide updates.

Two continuing education units toward any Texas Department of Agriculture pesticide license are available to attendees. A noon meal will be served, courtesy of Legacy Ag Credit, which is among several businesses co-sponsoring the conference.

Registration fee is $10 through Friday, $20 afterward.

For more information, contact Shaniqua Davis, Upshur County extension agent for agriculture, at 903-843-4019 or visit the local extension office in the old Gilmer National Bank motor bank on Cass Street.

Free blood pressure screening on tap

GILMER--Cypress Home Care will offer free blood pressure screeings to the public Friday at the weekly meeting of the Senior Citizens Organization of Upshur County.

The checks will be available from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the group’s headquarters, located at 201 Silver Alley at the intersection of Harrison Street.

Parking is available in the rear of the large white building and entry may be made through its rear door.

The senior citizens group will also hold its weekly potluck at 12:30 p.m.

For more information, call the organization’s vice-president, Andy Gibson, at 928-853-0259.

FOL Book Sale to support library

BOOKWORM ALERT! The annual Friends of the Library fall book sale will be held at Lee Library on Saturday, Sept. 19 from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. at 312 W. Pacific Ave.  All proceeds will be used to fund special projects and meet library needs. To donate books or money to the Friends of the Library please see Head Librarian Judy Hagle Monday through Friday 9:30 a.m. until 5:30 p.m. 

MAXAM Collection on display in Marshall

Marshall’s Michelson Museum MAXAM Collection, Spanish Painting since 1900 will be on display until Sept. 4. The birth of the MAXAM Collection goes back to 1899. Twenty-five years after it was founded by Alfred Nobel in 1872 the company’s commercial message employed some of the greatest Spanish artists of the period.

The Hoover Watercolor Society Traveling Exhibit will also be on display through Sept. 4.

Museum hours are Tuesday through Friday from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. and Saturdays from 1 p.m. until 4 p.m. It is located at 216 N. Bolivar St. in Marshall. For information call 903-935-9480 or go to

Manna House needs veggies, fruit

Manna House is in immediate need of green beans, macaroni and cheese, baby food and canned fruit. Donations may be dropped off at Manna House Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 9 a.m. until 11 a.m. or at the Gladewater Mirror during business hours daily. Financial Donations may be mailed to:  Manna House, P.O. Box 808, Gladewater 75693.





“I will be discussing the financial position and 2016 County budget at the Pritchett Community Center on Sept. 1st at 7 PM.  I believe the information is critical to the taxpayer.

“Before Sept. 1st, we will have already adopted the budget.  One item of critical importance to folks in the Gladewater area is that if the Commissioners approve a ‘NEW’ Election Administrator Dept., the tax assessor says she will close the Gladewater sub courthouse because money to fund the new dept. and one employee will be transferred away from her dept.  I am adamantly opposed to the closing of Gladewater sub courthouse and creating larger government and expense when it is the County Clerks responsibility to hold elections.  Tax payers should contact their Commissioners and discuss this issue ASAP.”


We invite everyone to the Pritchett Community Center monthly meeting at 7 PM on September 1 and woule like imput on the community.


I was happy to get a telephone call from Rowan Shirley of Utah this week.  The Shirley’s have been friends with my Denton family for at least 2 generations and we have visited in their home in Utah.  It seems that we are the older generation now and we all have our challenges.


Barbara May Langford sent me a pictures of  an old canning factory on White Oak Road in the Cross Road’s Community  with the names of the people in the picture, her dad is in the picture.  I appreciate Barbara for sending these pictures, also one of the Cross Roads School (about 1934-35) that was in the paper August 2, 2000.


Since the recent rains, the burn ban has been lifted for Upshur County.  People need to still be very careful if you are burning.


WORDS OF WISDOM:  The Savior is our supreme example of humility and submissiveness.  Perhaps some of the most sacred words in all the scriptures are simply, ‘Not my will, but thine, be done’.  (Luke 22:42)


There has been a report that Maurice Mask is in ICU in Longview.  Maurice has lived in our community for many years.  Let’s keep him in our thoughts and prayers.


Cooks for the quilters this week were Kathryn Beard, Ellen Johnson, Mary Askew, and Ann Leahy who served homemade chicken pot pie, spinach & strawberry salad with a raspberry dressing, avocado-cucumber salad, garlic bread, with spice cake for dessert.


Lynne Munoz and Betty Holden visited with us today.  Lynne had surgery and is recuperating.  Betty has recently become a citizen of the United States after living here for 50 years, coming from Canada.  We enjoyed having both of them and will be glad when they can come back to quilting.  Lynne crocheted 30 hats for cancer patients.


Thought for the day:  “My reading of history convinces me that most bad government results from too much government.”  Thomas Jefferson


Lone Pilgrim Primitive Baptist Church will be the subject of this weeks history from the records of Myra Watts.


The Lone Pilgrim Primitive Baptist Church is still active today.  Daniel Wilson Stanley was the minister of the old Paint Rock church south of Shady Grove and served there almost 30 years.  In the early 1900’s the school had consolidated with Shady Grove and the congregation saw the need of a new building.  Since most of the members lived closer to Cross Roads they decided to build the new building there.


In 1914 Tom Atkinson and Alvin Robertson donated land on what is now Lemon Road for the sight of the new building.  It was a lovely, peaceful setting among large trees.


The basis of the Primitive Baptist religion is that of predestination.  Their service includes traditional washing of the feet.  In this congregation they also include Sacred Harp singing which is based on songs and hymns written in a basic four beat meter (also called Fa-so-la).


The founder of this church was Daniel W. Stanley.  His brother, John Jordan Stanley, died in 1875 after singing a Sacred Harp song.  He was 22 years old.  He just stepped out onto the church porch and fell dead.  It is believed he died of a stroke due to high blood pressure which runs in the family.  We don’t know why D.W. Chose “Lone Pilgrim” as the name for this church, but there is a song in a Sacred Harp song book titled “Lone Pilgrim.”  It is a hauntingly love song.  I have the words to the son, but not the music.


Charter members were Brothers and Sisters:  D.W. Stanley, W.A. White, M.J. Stanley, Charlie Brogden, Rob Stegall, W.A. Bryant, George Jones, Jim Burcham, Mack Howell, A.B. Robertson, Marion Satterwhite, J.H. Johnson, Henry Steelman, John Robertson, Jim Robertson, Millie Robertson, Bert Atkinson, Luna Stanley, Fince Meeler and Carrie Bullard.


One gentleman recalls going to the meetings when he was a boy and slipping away during the sermons to go swimming in Miller’s (then Wilburn’s) Pond.  The sermons sere so long that the same preacher would still be in the pulpit when they returned.


Ruby Johnson Starks is still a member of this congregation today.  They meet every second Sunday of the month.


Words from Brenda Johnson:  Ruby still amazes me that at over 90 (she will be 96 on August 25) years old she still goes to a lot of meetings (Upshur County Hospital Auxiliary, senior citizens in Gilmer), still mows her own yard, and the last I knew, she was still making the most delicious pies for anyone that wanted one.  Ruby and I were Pink Ladies together at the hospital before it closed down.  One of Ruby’s daughters has been in the hospital this week and we wish her well.

Next week’s history will be on the Stanley-Mclaughlin Family.




Dove Forecast – 30-Million Mourning Dove Here in Texas! A Video News Report is now available on our site called “Dove Forecast 2015.” There’s good news for dove hunters who are looking forward to that opening day of dove season September first. A rainy s

A Video News Report is now available on our site called “Dove Forecast 2015.” There’s good news for dove hunters who are looking forward to that opening day of dove season September first.  A rainy spring has sprouted lots more sunflowers and seeds across the Texas landscape bringing 30-million mourning doves into the state. Biologists say dove numbers have increased over last year as much as 20 percent which is good news for both veteran hunters and those who are new to the sport. Texas Parks and Wildlife has this report.

See the Youtube link at

Upshur calls for Nov. 3 liquor election

By Phillip Williams


GILMER--Upshur County Commissioners Court on Aug. 14 called a Nov. 3 election on legalizing beer and wine sales in justice of the peace precinct one--but will have to re-vote on its approval of more countywide voting boxes than County Clerk Terri Ross proposed for the Nov. 3 election on proposed amendments to the state constitution.

County Judge Dean Fowler said that under state law, the court had to call the alcohol election on sale of the beverages for off-premises consumption only. County Tax Assessor-Collector Sherron Laminack had certified 946 signatures on a petition to call the election when only 586 were needed, Fowler’s office said

Voting boxes in JP precinct one include South Diana, Glenwood, East Mountain and the Indian Rock Baptist Church. Fowler said the alcohol proposition would affect convenience and grocery stores in the precinct, and the small Walmart in Diana.

Although the county calls the election, those wanting to sell the beverages must apply through the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission if the proposition passes, the judge noted.

The only areas of Upshur County in which alcoholic beverage sales are legal, other than by private organizations such as a country club, are the cities of Gilmer, Ore City and Big Sandy. The portion of Gladewater where such sales are legal is in Gregg County.

The “local option” alcohol and amendment elections will be held the same day as an election in part of the county on a proposed tax increase for the Upshur County Emergency Services District.

Besides calling the local option election, the court also votedAug. 14 to establish nine polling places for election day voting on the proposed amendments. But Ross later said the court was supposed to have designated which voting precincts will cast ballots in which boxes, so commissioners will vote again on the issue Aug. 31 because “there’s kind of a glitch in the way it was handled.”

Ross had recommended only four polling places for election day voting--one in each commissioner’s precinct--and holding all in-person early voting at the county courthouse. She recommended the Indian Rock Baptist Church in precinct one, Ore City Community Center in precinct two, the Upshur County Library in precinct four, and either the Pritchett Community Center or Gladewater former students’ building in precinct three.

But Pct. 1 Commissoner Paula Gentry said the election on the proposed tax increase for the emergency services district was “really important” and that she supported having two polling places per precinct.

Pct. 3 Commissioner Frank Berka said he had been criticized because voting had not been held in Big Sandy in his precinct in a past election, and even offered to donate money to the county to have it there Nov. 3. Fowler replied that Berka could donate funds, but not designate how they would be used.

The court approved holding voting at all the locations proposed by Ross (including both Pritchett and Gladewater), but added Walnut Creek Baptist Church, Big Sandy, East Mountain and Oak Hill Baptist Church.

The court also approved holding all early voting at the courthouse. Pct. 4 Commissioner Mike Spencer noted the county has fewer voting boxes than it once did because many of them were not in compliance with the Americans With Disabilities Act.

In other action at its Aug. 14 meeting, the court extended Fowler’s ban on rural outdoor burning, including outside cooking and barbecuing, till further notice. Gentry said she wanted to put up signs advising people of the ban, and Fowler said “that’s a good idea,” noting he had seen such signs in Harrison County. Despite rain this week, the ban remained in effect Friday morning, the judge’s office said.



Stop Zebra Mussel Spread! – Boaters Asked to Help and Obey the Law

A Video News Report is now available on our site called “Stop Zebra Mussel Spread.” The 2015 flood waters brought lake levels around the state up and boaters back on the water. The downside is the threat of invasive zebra mussels spreading from lake to lake. Texas Parks and Wildlife is asking boaters to help stop the spread of these economically and environmentally damaging pests. The law requires boaters to clean, drain and dry their boats and water compartments that can carry microscopic larvae.

See the Youtube link at