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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.






“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.




2015-16 Texas hunting, fishing licenses now on sale

AUSTIN — Sportsmen gearing up for the upcoming fall hunting seasons are reminded to renew their licenses for 2015-16. Licenss went on sale August 15. The current year Texas hunting and fishing licenses (except year-to-date fishing licenses) will expire Aug. 31.

Every year, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department issues about 2.5 million hunting and fishing licenses through the agency’s 28 field offices, more than 50 state parks and at over 1,700 retailers across the state. Licenses may also be purchased online through the TPWD website at or by phone at 1-800-895-4248. Call center hours are Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Please note that here is a required $5 administrative fee for each phone or online transaction but multiple items can be purchased during a single transaction occasion for the $5 fee. The online transaction system is available 24/7. For online and phone orders, a physical license will be mailed within three business days. During that time period, a transaction receipt will be provided via email that will be sufficient proof of hunting license that can be used for dove hunting, though it will not be allowed for the take of fish or wildlife that require a tag.

Hunting and fishing regulations for the new season can be found in the 2015-2016 Outdoor Annual, available in booklet form at license retailers and digitally online at Hunters and anglers can also download the free 2015-2016 Outdoor Annual mobile app on their Apple or Android devices.

Mandatory Hunter Education Certification

In addition to a hunting license, anyone born after Sept. 1, 1971, must successfully complete a hunter education training course or purchase a one-time deferral good for one license year in order to hunt legally in Texas. The certification is valid for life and is honored in all other states and provinces. Last year, TPWD certified a record 72,000 hunter education students, yet Texas game wardens still issued more than 3,400 citations and warnings last fall for hunters not meeting hunter education certification requirements.

Getting certified has never been more convenient. Hunters who need hunter education certification have several expanded contemporary options including a streamlined, one-day basic course and an option for anyone 17 years of age or older to take the hunting safety training completely online. A combination online home study and 4 to 5 hour skills field day course is also offered. More information on hunter education certification is available online at .

Bird Hunting Requirements

A Migratory Game Bird endorsement and Harvest Information Program (HIP) certification are also required to hunt dove or teal in September. HIP certification involves a brief survey of previous year’s migratory bird hunting success and is conducted at the time licenses are purchased. Duck hunters also need to purchase a Federal Duck Stamp. The cost of the duck stamp was increased this year to $25, plus applicable state and federal fees.


There are other mandatory endorsements to consider at the time of license purchase. An Upland Game Bird Stamp ($7) is required to hunt all non-migratory game birds, including turkey, quail, pheasant and chachalaca.

Texas Parks & Wildlife Magazine’s 

Hunting Forecast

The Texas Parks & Wildlife magazine’s free digital hunting issue will be available starting Friday, August 15. This special issue includes the 2015-2016 hunting forecast for deer, dove, ducks and more. Wild game recipes and other tips are also included. It can be downloaded as a free app on iPad or iPhone or viewed as a digital version online starting August 15 at

Big Time Texas Hunts

Big Time Texas Hunts provide opportunities to win one or more of nine premium guided hunt packages with food and lodging provided, as well as taxidermy in some cases. The crown jewel of the program is the Texas Grand Slam hunt package, which includes four separate hunts for Texas’ most prized big game animals — the desert bighorn sheep, white-tailed deer, mule deer and pronghorn. New this year is the Ultimate Mule Deer Hunt, where one winner will be the first to hunt on the recently acquired Yoakum Dunes WMA. There are several quality whitetail hunt packages available, as well as opportunities to pursue alligator, waterfowl, upland game birds, wild hog and exotics. Big Time Texas Hunts entries are available online for just $9 each at, or for $10 each at license retailers or by phone. There is no limit to the number of entries an individual may purchase and all proceeds benefit conservation, wildlife management and public hunting. Deadline for entry is October 15. The program is made possible with support from Toyota, Texas Trophy Hunters Association and the Texas Bighorn Society. More details on all nine premium hunts can be found online.


Lifetime Licenses Hunters and anglers can also take care of their licensing requirements for life with the purchase of a$1,800 Lifetime Super Combo, or they can enter for the chance to win a lifetime license through the department’s Lifetime License Drawing. Entries for the drawing cost $5 each and may be purchased at license retailers, by phone or  online at  .There is no limit on the number of entries that may be purchased. Winners will be drawn on Dec. 30, 2015 and June 30, 2016. If you enter by Dec. 27, 2015, you will be eligible for both drawings.

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

Gladewater tax office could close

By Phillip Williams


Upshur County Tax Assessor-Collector Sherron Laminack said Monday that hiring a county election administrator might result in her having to close the Gladewater branch of her office, but County Judge Dean Fowler said “there is absolutely no danger of that.”

Laminack raised the possibility of the branch closing when County Clerk Terri Ross recommended to the county commissioners court on Friday that it establish the election administrator post. County officials have discussed the controversial idea of naming an EA on and off for several years. 

Ross and Laminack addressed the court during a lengthy discussion on the forthcoming 2015-16 county budget, which the court is expected to adopt later this month.

Laminack said the problem stems from the fact that her office’s deputy voter registrar, Pam Dean, also works in the substation, collecting taxes and registering vehicles.

While Ross has a separate special budget for elections, Laminack does not, and Dean’s going to work in the new EA office would leave the tax office an employee short, the tax assessor said. 

And hiring someone part-time to replace Dean would not help because a part-time worker cannot be trained quickly enough, so the Gladewater office would be closed “until we can get someone trained,” Laminack said.

But she also said the office might remain open even if an EA is established, so long as the court provides her with a replacement for Dean in the new budget.

Fowler meantime said Monday he believed the county could both hire an EA and keep the Gladewater branch open. However, he said that If forced to choose between the two, he would support retaining the substation.

Pct. 1 Commissioner Paula Gentry, who once worked as a deputy tax assessor-collector in the Gladewater office, said Monday, “I don’t look at closing it. It wouldn’t have my vote.”

And Pct. 3 Commissioner Frank Berka, whose precinct includes Gladewater, vowed Monday that “if it takes closing the office in Gladewater to create another government entity, I am going to claw your (other commissioners court members’) eyes out. That’s basically what I said in court” Friday.

The issue of creating an EA’s office surfaced during a nearly 5 1/2-hour commissioners court meeting Friday in which the court skipped lunch, taking only two short breaks totalling 25 minutes before finally adjourning shortly before 3 p.m.

“Elections are kind of a burden ‘cause we’ve got so much to do” in the county clerk’s office, Ross told the court. She said appointing an administrator would be a “step in the right direction” toward making elections “run a lot smoother,” inasmuch as an administrator can register voters and attend schooling on elections.

The county clerk also said “my office is so passionate” about creating the new position that one of her deputies was willing to resign. Ross offered to have the court lower her office’s salary budget if it put $12,000-14,000 in the budget toward the potential hiring of the administrator.

“We just need a little more money to fund” that position, the county clerk said. She said she was “asking it be in place” if such a post was created.

When Pct. 4 Commissioner Mike Spencer asked Ross why she would not put a person in her office in charge of elections, the clerk replied, “You’re still going to have to budget for that.” She added that everyone in the office must help with elections because it is such a big undertaking.

In another election-related matter, the court on Friday called a Nov. 3 election in justice of the peace precinct one on the off-premises consumption of beer and wine. The court had to call the election under state law because a sufficient number of voters petitioned for it.

The election will occur the same day as elections on state constitutional amendments and on raising the tax rate for the Upshur County Emergency Services District. 

When Ross proposed having only one voting box in each of the four commissioners’ precincts for the amendment election, including a box at Pritchett in precinct 3, Berka noted he had been criticized for not having voting in Big Sandy during a certain election.

He offered to donate to the county to pay for a box to be put there. The court approved voting in his precinct in Big Sandy and Gladewater, as well as Pritchett, without a donation.









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

State school truancy law changes


By Suzanne Bardwell

A new school truancy law takes effect Sept. 1 and although students will no longer face criminal sanctions there will be more pressure on parents and schools if students fail to show up for class.

A key component of the new law requires all public schools to implement truancy prevention programs something nearly all have had in place in years.

The new law works like this:  If a student has three unexcused absences in a four-week period the school must inform parents, warn them of potential truancy measures and request a face-to-face meeting.

The school must put in place truancy prevention measures.

If a student has 10 unexcused absences in a six-month period the school must evaluate whether the student’s absences are the result of a pregnancy, homelessness, foster care or because he or she is the primary earner for the family.

If they fit the stated criteria the school may not refer the student to truancy court, instead the school will offer additional counseling and support.

If they do not fit the criteria the school may file a criminal complaint against the parents in court. Schools must prove the absences were unexcused and a result of the parents’ negligence.


If the school finds its truancy plan is not working the student can be referred to a truancy court. The student can be fined $100, have his or her driving privileges revoked, or be referred to the juvenile court system.