In The News

This is the base where our Mike Precella works.  His building was not flooded according to his wife Jane.

Their home is also okay.  Prayers for Nebraska.


Wonderful story about Karen Cloudy's mom





Jeff Badders' daughter Rachel and her husband featured in an episode of HGTV's Fixer Upper.

Jeff and Jackie cameo appearance at the end!  Love it.



Charles' Parrish's nephew!  So proud of Kendall!  Bet Charles is smiling in Heaven.

Pictured are NHS Valedictorian, Kendall Parrish Whitbeck, and Salutatorian, Kevin Roux. Whitbeck graduates with an overall GPA of 106.12, and is the son of Steve and Katherine Whitbeck. While at NHS, Kendall distinguished himself through service to many clubs, including Key Club, Model United Nations, student council and National Honor Society. In the past year, Kendall served as the 2015 class treasurer. He has competed for Nacogdoches High School on the varsity cross country and varsity tennis teams. In the fall, he will attend The University of Texas in Austin, where he will pursue a degree in aerospace engineering.

Roux graduates with an overall GPA of 105.34. He is the son of Francois Roux and Shiho Nagasaki. Throughout his high school career, Kevin participated in Key Club, Model United Nations, Student Council, French Honor Society, English Honor Society, National Honor Society and the tennis team. His junior year, Kevin served as the parliamentarian of student council. As a senior, he served as captain of the tennis team, reaching the regional level in singles. In the fall, he will attend Stephen F. Austin State University and transfer to The University of Texas at Austin in the spring to pursue a degree in aerospace engineering.




The Life and Legacy of E.J. Campbell

By Adam Peasley The Daily Sentinel | 0 comments

A new exhibit at the Old University Building features a brief walking tour of the life and legacy of Edward John Campbell, an eminent segregation-era educator whose influence is still felt in the Nacogdoches community.

“I’ve had students ask me what makes Campbell’s history important now,” said Almetrice Burrell Cotton, a retired educator and chair of the exhibit, during the unveiling on Tuesday. “Campbell’s is a living history because these people have made an impact.”

The first display in the exhibit features a poster outlining the achievements of members of the E.J. Campbell High School Alumni Association. The list includes Eugene Boins Jr., owner of East Texas Monthly Newspaper and Harlon Brooks of Harlon’s Bar-B-Que.

Born in 1877 in the Upshaw community of northwestern Nacogdoches County, Campbell was principal of Nacogdoches Colored School from 1910 to 1937. The school flourished under his leadership, offering courses in health, home economics and agriculture, and developing the Black Dragon athletic organization and marching band.

When Campbell’s 27-year tenure ended with his death, the school had a large new auditorium and the population had increased from 125 to 900. When a new black high school was built in 1955, it was named in honor of Campbell.

According to a 1983 story in The Redland Herald by Dr. F.E. Abernethy, the respect Campbell earned in the community allowed him to serve as a mediator in racial conflicts in the community.

E.J. Campbell High School year books, photos of the original building and school documents in the exhibit draw a picture of the campus that represents Campbell’s influence.

Also featured is a biography of Campbell’s daughter, Willie Lee Campbell Glass, called “A Psalm of Life,” by Patsy Hallman. The former dean of education at SFA, Hallman wrote the book after two years of interviews and coordination with Glass.

“She shares a great deal about her parents, E.J. and Mary Kennedy Campbell,” Hallman said.

The book offers a tender look into the Campbell household, including stories of her father and family sayings. Gems like “Chop your own wood, and it will keep you warm twice,” and “Dream big dreams, then put on your overalls,” sit among other pieces of wisdom.

The “E.J. Campbell, The Man and The School,” exhibit is scheduled to be open through February — Black History Month. The committee said it hopes the exhibit will attract school field trips and members of Nacogdoches African-American community “because this place is part of their history as well,” said Jo Beth Maraist, a member of the museum committee.

The museum is open from 1 to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, at 515 North Mound Street.


Hotel Fredonia

Hotel Fredonia


 Paul Clark, left, the general council of the Texas State Bank explains the procedures and reasons for the auction contents of the Fredonia Hotel. A group of eight people attended the Thursday morning auction in the lobby of the hotel.

J. Peterman catalog has Nacogdoches reference


Years before Elaine Benes bumps into J. Peterman on the streets of the Seinfeld set, a member of the real Peterman family was forming vague visions of a future dress design on a Nacogdoches front porch.

Twenty years later, The J. Peterman Company’s Chief Executive Officer Tim Peterman recalls his visit to Nacogdoches with clarity, taking to the drawing board with fond memories of southern breezes.

In its most recently released catalog, southern sophistication now comes in polka dotted red and blue with Peterman’s creation of the Nacogdoches Serenade dress.

“It’s early fall, just after dusk,” the dresses’ description reads. “She’s enjoying a slow, warm Texan breeze oozing in off the Angelina River. Smells of sugarcane sweep across her in waves as she sits with him on this old swing, homemade sweet tea nearby, sweating in tall ice filled glasses.”

The dress’ description captures Nacogdoches simplicity well.

“She’s wearing this crossover cummerbund dress again, with its draping soft cotton that drips off


This is a screenshot from the J.Peterman catalog of the dresses listed as Nacogdoches Serenade.

her, just below her tan knees,” the description continues. “She’s savoring how little has changed in the last 30 years, here in Nacogdoches, her, him, even the way this swing creaks. She knows it was a different time back then, but ...

“‘Let’s skip the party, just stay here,’ he whispers softly.”

Established in 1987, The J. Peterman Company name was made famous after producers Larry David and Jerry Seinfeld incorporated it into their sitcom Seinfeld.

The company, based in Ohio, had existed for several years before Seinfeld character Elaine Benes, played by Julia Louis-Dreyfus, was hired by J. Peterman in the show.

Sometime in the early 1990s, current CEO and copywriter Tim Peterman said he traveled to Nacogdoches on a recommendation. The rolling hills enthralled him.

“I actually lived in San Antonio for a year in my previous life before J. Peterman,” said Peterman. “I was with the Sinclair Group that owned TV stations in San Antonio. Several folks I worked with lived in Nacogdoches and they talked to me about it all the time.

“I drove out there one time to see them and it was just a really great area. When you look at the stories, they’re all real things that happened at the time. This was 15 years ago. Maybe even more.”

From Spain to England and everywhere in between, Peterman travels the world looking for fashion inspiration — as is the company’s slogan, “Traveling the world to find uncommonly good stuff.”

He said neither the design nor the clothing articles’ name is ever particularly first in the creative process.

“I get that question a lot: the chicken or the egg, and it’s the chicken and the egg at the same time,” he said. “It’s really done at the same time. It’s just an emotion. When we design our clothes, we try to capture the providence of an idea, of a time, of a place, of a feeling.”

The Nacogdoches Serenade dress is available in navy with green dots or red with black dots. It can be found on The J. Peterman Company’s website, www.


Posted: Wednesday, August 13, 2014 11:30 pm

Nine years later, interim job becomes permanent position for detective By Paul Bryant The Daily Sentinel | 0 comments

When Det. Bob Killingsworth assumed control of maintaining property and evidence at the Nacogdoches Police Department, he offered to do so on an interim basis.

“We had some unexpected turnover, and we were searching for someone to fill the position,” he said. “I said I would cover it temporarily until we could find someone qualified.”

That was nine years ago.

“I chased all the gangsters for five years,” Killingsworth said. “People still recognize me from my time on the street as a gang officer. They thought I retired.”

He didn’t, and he doesn’t plan to do so anytime soon.

“Mark Lollar (in the Criminal Investigation Division) is retiring from NPD and I am taking his position,” he said. “And Christy Bruton is moving into crime scene and evidence. The common trend throughout the country is to take sworn officers out of crime scene and evidence and hire trained civilians. Dallas has nine civilians in its evidence room. Texas has started coming around to it.”

Killingsworth, 57, will maintain supervisory responsibilities in evidence collection and maintenance. Bruton is a trained civilian.

“I started with NPD in 1995 as a patrol officer. I retired from the U.S. Navy after 20 years on a Friday and started here on a Monday.”

Killingsworth was a chief petty officer in the Navy. Soon after becoming a patrol officer, he said The Daily Sentinel wrote a story about him and his fellow patrolman on the night shift.

“In 1996, the newspaper called us ‘The Midnight Riders.’ During that time, Nacogdoches was a wild town, a tough town.”

Today, Killingsworth is responsible for securing crime-scene evidence and ensuring its integrity while cases progress through the court system.

“Nobody cares about evidence until it becomes headlines,” he said. “But you have to take care of your evidence because a case can turn on it. And you have to be meticulous. Anything can be evidence — a blood spot or hair — anything. One item can make a difference.”

At NPD, boxes of evidence line many shelves inside a secure room. They’re properly labeled and placed neatly according to case number. In another room are cases of drugs seized during highway interdiction, and in a separate area, equipment is used to secure fingerprints lifted from evidence and to process some human DNA.

“Everything we do in here is under surveillance,” Killingsworth said. “When a case is disposed, within 90 days the evidence is gone. We take it in unmarked vehicles to a facility in Carthage and destroy it in front of many, many witnesses.”

However, other evidence is retained for decades or longer.

“Right now, the oldest piece of evidence we have is from 1978 on an open case. How long we keep evidence depends on the case. DNA evidence has to be retained for 40 years, especially in sexual assaults. If we have an unsolved homicide, that evidence stays until it’s solved.”

Of course, Killingsworth dismisses what people see on TV crime shows.

“It takes 12 to 18 months to get DNA results back,” he said. “I can’t do it in 10 minutes. All that stuff we see on TV is Hollywood. It’s not like that. We hand-deliver our stuff to a Houston lab, or to Tyler. I can get dope and blood tested in a few weeks, but it’s not the same for DNA.”

On some crime scenes, multiple law-enforcement officials walk through them to gain different perspectives on what they see and find.

“We’ll go through two or three sets of eyes,” Killingsworth said. “An officer will go through the scene first but won’t touch anything. Then someone else goes through it. And then I walk it. You just never know what’s going to turn your case.”

In his career as a crime-scene investigator, one of the more complex cases Killingsworth has worked was in 2012.

“It was the gentleman who was killed in his truck and left at Walgreens,” he said. “We had three crime scenes in that case and worked 32 hours non-stop. A few hours later, we had two suspects in custody.”

Randy Ellinwood in January 2013 was sentenced to life in prison and co-defendant Erin Belz was sentenced three months earlier to 39 years in prison for the murder of Gilbert Joseph Thibodeaux, 31, whose body police found in his truck in the parking lot of Walgreens on North Street.

During Ellinwood’s trial, officers testified that Thibodeaux was beaten at Belz’s residence on Myrtle Street before he was left in the truck at Walgreens. The defendants then discarded evidence near a floral shop on North Street.

“On a lot of crime scenes, it’s a small thing,” Killingsworth said. “One thing you have to remember on a crime scene is that someone somewhere knows something. Without evidence, you don’t have a case. If you do your job, we’ll make sure that integrity gets all the way to the courtroom.”

Killingsworth said his day at work generally begins at 7 a.m.

“By 8, we are working on evidence from the previous evening and packaging stuff for the lab,” he said. “We are also on call because we may have to go out on a major felony in the middle of the night. It doesn’t happen often, but it does happen.”

He graduated from Nacogdoches High School in 1974 and attended SFA the following year.

“Then I got bored with school and joined the Navy, much to my mother’s chagrin.”

Killingsworth and his wife, Carri — also an NPD employee — have two daughters and two sons.


Following in his dad’s footsteps, Nacogdoches High School senior defensive end Greg Roberts is off to play college football at Baylor University next season.

Signing his letter of intent on national signing day, Roberts has committed his future to the Bears football program — currently under direction by high profile head coach Art Briles.

“It’s a relief more than anything,” Roberts said. “It’s nice to be official.”

As for the pressure of living up to his father’s legend, Roberts wasn’t too worried.

“I think that is more outside pressure than anything else,” he said. “My dad has always let me make my own mistakes. When we talk, it usually isn’t about football. It’s more life talk.”

Roberts’ father, Greg Roberts Sr., was an Outland Trophy winner for Oklahoma under head coach Barry Switzer and had a four-year NFL career with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He is a Nacogdoches graduate.

Unlike his father, Greg Roberts Jr. is headed to Baylor, rather than Oklahoma.

“The education there is awesome,” he said. “I hope to major in business and get my masters degree before I graduate.”

Roberts’ mother, Kontessa Keggler, was very happy for her son.

“I’m very excited,” she said. “It’s a true blessing.”

Transitioning to Baylor, Roberts understands signing is just the beginning of his college football career.

“It will be different,” he said. “Coming in and starting at the bottom, I feel, will make me hungrier.”

Like any parent, his mom is excited but sad to see her son grow up so fast.

“It’s going to be hard having him leave the nest,” Mrs. Keggler said.

Roberts understands that he just has to stay focused on what he can control.

“I’m going to lift a lot of weights and eat a lot,” he said. “The coaches are going to help me get where I need to be. I’m going to work hard, and I don’t expect to sit long.”

NHS head coach Bobby Reyes had positive things to say about his senior player.

“Nacogdoches has always had athletes,” Reyes said. “However, they haven’t always bought into the whole package. This is a good start. It shows that when you do the right thing, good things come.”

“I’m just really excited to be playing college football — especially at Baylor,” Roberts said. “They have like a 25 to 1 student-teacher ratio, the coaches are good and it’s a good school.”


The University Interscholastic League threw Nacogdoches High School athletic officials a surprise with its release of new district alignments for the 2014-15 and 2015-16 seasons.

Nacogdoches will compete in an eight-team District 16-5A that also will include an old-time rival and two teams from the Dallas area.

It will consist of Nacogdoches, Lufkin, John Tyler, Whitehouse, Lindale, Jacksonville, Corsicana and Ennis.

Nacogdoches competed in District 16-4A last season, along with five other teams — Whitehouse, Jacksonville, John Tyler, Lindale and Corsicana.

The new District 5A means the Dragons are reunited with rival Lufkin in a district for the first time since 2001.

That was somewhat expected, with Lufkin not moving up to a new Class 6A and staying at 5A, which is comprised of schools formerly known as Class 4A.

But what wasn’t anticipated was Corsicana staying in and Ennis joining a district that is otherwise full of East Texas schools.

NHS officials were hopeful that the UIL would structure a regional district that would be more travel friendly.

“We have to more on and get ready for the challenges,” NHS athletic director Farshid Niroumand said. “It’s certainly a long way. Nacogdoches to Ennis is 150 miles. Nacogdoches to

Corsicana is 135. I thought it would be the same district with the exception of Corsciana dropping off and adding Lufkin to it. I never thought Corsicana and Ennis would be part of the district.”

Nacogdoches had a breakthrough football season, going 7-4 with highlights being defeating Lufkin and advancing to the playoffs for just the second time since 1992.

The new district increases the number of teams from six to eight, with the top four finishers advancing to the postseason. There are some traditional powers in the district, including Whitehouse, John Tyler and Lufkin.

Ennis has the potential to make a big splash in the new district. The Lions were 14-1 last season, with the lone setback coming to Aledo in the Class 4A state semifinals.

Playoff teams from 16-4A last season were Whitehouse, John Tyler, Nacogdoches and Lindale. The addition of Lufkin and Ennis should lead to a more spirted race to the district championship and the other three playoff teams.

Lindale advanced to the playoffs as the fourth-place team last season with a 2-3 district mark and finished 3-8 with a 62-17 playoff loss to Ennis.

“It’s a good district,” Dragon football coach Bobby Reyes said. “It’s a very competitive district. I feel good about us being able to compete in it.”

The Dragons return seven starters on offense and three on defense next season.

“We feel fine about where we are headed,” Reyes said. “The kids are working hard. We have a good base coming back, good leadership.”

Reyes said the major issue with the new district is the travel associated with being in a district that includes two teams — Corsicana and Ennis — that are on the outskirts

of Dallas.

“I’m not happy about the travel,” he said. “Corsicana came east for two years. I didn’t think the UIL would do it to them again. And now Ennis. I don’t mind playing them. But we’re talking about 150 miles and 135 miles. That’s a pretty good road trip, for us, Lufkin, Corsciana and Ennis.

“The UIL throws a kink in things. That’s the way it is. Don’t cry about it. Deal with the fact that we are going to have to travel.”

Nacogdoches was one of several schools that were affected by the UIL’s new alignment procedure.

Garrison was sent to a southern district — Class 3A’s District 22 — that also consists of Crockett, Corrigan-Camden, Hemphill, Newton and Deweyville.

Central Heights, Woden and Central — teams that do not play football — are in that district, as well.

Besides entering what will be a highly competitive district, Garrison football coach Craig Barker said the new district includes long trips for teams like Garrison, Central Heights and Woden.

Newton and Deweyville are lengthy drives for those schools.

“From a travel standpoint, it’s a nightmare,” Barker said. “Plus, you have some powerhouse teams, with Newton, Corrigan-Camden, and Crockett is always athletic.

“It’s going to be a challenge. That’s for sure.”

Cushing, a 1-9 team last season, was placed in a district that includes Beckville, Joaquin, Shelbyville, West Sabine and San Augustine.

“We are going to have to light some fires and kick some tires, and just go play,” football coach Bill Jehling said. “We have to work harder and get after it some more. That’s all we can do.”

Marion Upshaw’s story

Marion Upshaw was one of the first teachers from E.J. Campbell High School to move over to NHS during integration. When integration first began, students had a choice of whether or not they wanted to attend “the white high school” or “the black one,” he said.

“I had a feeling that I would have a problem teaching the white kids and they wouldn’t listen to me because of my color,” he said. “But amazingly, when I went to that white high school to teach math, the white kids accepted me fully and I had no problem. They respected me. I just had a smooth transition.”

Upshaw said blacks were taught to be inferior, but he didn’t feel inferior.

“You have to control your own thinking,” he said. “I’m just as good as them.”

During lunch, Upshaw said he sat alone at first.

“The whites were reluctant to sit with me, and I was reluctant to go sit with them,” he said. “Finally, someone would come sit with me. Then one more, then two, then it continued to be an increasing number who would come sit with me in the cafeteria. I guess they wanted to know what it would be like to eat with a black person.”

This was in the late ’60s, before E.J. Campbell High School closed down and all the black students were enrolled at NHS. When integration happened in earnest, there were a few problems, he said, but not nearly as many as they predicted.

“We have to give credit to the administration at that time,” he said. “They prepared us all for as smooth a transition as possible, with as little friction as possible.”

Because the schools had traditionally been segregated, Upshaw said the community was hesitant at first.

“They realized this was the best way for the kids to get an equal education, at the same classrooms and the same facility,” he said. “Finally the black people realized that integration was the best thing. One school system, one set of principals, one set of teachers.”

Upshaw said the majority of teachers from E.J. Campbell High School accepted jobs at NHS, adding that there were two principals at the time.

He described today as “much improved.”

“There is still some racism, but it’s much improved and we don’t have near as much friction as we used to have in Nacogdoches,” he said. “You can feel comfortable in Nacogdoches, going in the restaurants and hotels.”

Before integration, and before the marches downtown, Upshaw said things were very different.

He spoke of blacks being denied bank loans, and being denied the privilege of buying a home because it was in “a white neighborhood.”

Upshaw lived in the Upshaw community, named for his ancestors who purchased the land decades before. He said they didn’t go to town often, and he recalls everyone’s fear of Roebuck too.

“The fact is, he was really cruel to the black people,” he said. “They had a curfew. They had to be out of town by a certain time of the night. He would walk the streets and say it’s time for you to go.”

Upshaw also talked about going to see movies downtown, sitting upstairs, separate from white people.

“We were just proud to see the movie,” he said. “When you live a certain way of life, you accept the conditions as they are. When they integrated, we went downstairs with everybody else. The movie’s were still good.”

But Upshaw said there was still some hesitation.

“I was reluctant to come in the front door myself,” he said. “I wasn’t sure that I would be fully accepted. I wasn’t sure that I wouldn’t be hurt by someone who didn’t like my presence.”

But, he said, what he began to realize is that people are more alike than they are different.

“The color of skin is just like a package,” he said. “The wrapper on the package does not change the contents. The inside parts of our persons were more alike than different — the whites realized it and the blacks realized it. We all have more in common than we thought we had



Crush’ has been clutch for Orioles

Longview grad Davis winding down memorable season in Baltimore


Sports Correspondent

BALTIMORE — It was March 17th of this year — the 27th birthday for Chris Davis — as the Longview High graduate collected his bats and glove and headed to the clubhouse of the Baltimore Orioles in Sarasota, Fla.

He had played a few innings in the spring training game and was joining other veterans for an early shower as Baltimore reserves finished off the exhibition game. Davis had spent most of spring training getting plenty of work at first base, a position he had not played on a regular basis with the Orioles.

“For me it is being a little too aggressive,” Davis said that day of playing first base. “There are times to be aggressive and go get the ball and times to sit back and make the routine play.”

More than six months later the experiment of having Davis play first has worked very well for the Orioles, who have set a Major League record for most errorless games in a season. They had played 118 errorless games through Tuesday to break the record of 113 set by Houston in 2008.

“There are times when our defense has picked us up and got our pitching staff out of jams when they needed it,” Davis said. The pitchers “don’t have to be perfect and strike everybody out. We will make the plays behind them.”

That defense took a hit Monday afternoon in Tampa when young third baseman Manny Machado was injured when he fell after hitting the first base bag awkwardly while running out a batted ball. He will be lost for the rest of the season, while Davis has made just six errors this season through Monday with 71 assists and he has taken part in 151 double plays.

And perhaps you have heard that Davis, a Sports Illustrated cover boy last month, has done pretty well on offense to boot. He has had a breakout season with an All-Star game appearance and the left-handed slugger set a Baltimore franchise record when he smashed his 51st homer on Sept. 17, to break the mark set by Brady Anderson in 1996.

Major league veteran Dan Johnson, signed by the Orioles in late August from the Yankees, has been impressed with Texas native Davis.

“It is truly amazing the way he goes up there and the power he has,” said Johnson, who was in the starting lineup Tuesday against Toronto as the DH at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. “It has been fun to watch. I have seen three homers. This guy is really going. If you watch his at bats and how tough they pitch him, he is not sneaking up on anybody.”

In games through Monday, Davis was hitting .286 with 52 homers, 41 doubles and 136 RBIs in 155 games for the Orioles. He hit No. 52 on Monday at Tampa Bay. Prior to Tuesday he led the majors in homers and extra-base hits, with 94.

“Brady is a guy that I have a lot of respect for what he has meant to the Orioles. He is one of those guys that is going to work as hard as he can,” Davis told radio 105.7 The Fan of Anderson. “He has been awesome. I think a lot of guys would have been different about (losing a record). He has been very accepting. “ “I think last year was a turning point in my career. I got (515) at bats at the big league level,” he added. “This year has obviously been a lot of fun. Our offense has really taken off this year.”

The Orioles were on the verge of being eliminated from playoff contention going into Tuesday’s games after they lost all four games at Tampa Bay in a series that ended Monday. They were officially eliminated from the postseason on Tuesday.

After playing at Longview High, Davis played at Navarro College and was drafted by the Texas Rangers in the fifth round in 2006. He worked his way up the minor league ladder and made his debut in The Show on June 26, 2008 with Texas.

Davis went back and forth between the majors and minors from 2008 to 2010 and was then traded to the Orioles on July 30, 2011 with pitcher Tommy Hunter for Koji Uehara and cash.

Hunter has been a key setup guy out of the Baltimore bullpen the past two seasons while Uehara has been a key closer for the Red Sox this season. Davis saw action at first base, outfield and designated hitter in 2012 but manager Buck Showalter, who once skippered the Rangers, wanted Davis to lock down the first base job in spring training.

“They had to wait a little bit longer for me. To be on a team that is winning is awesome,” Davis said.

The Orioles made the playoffs last year for the first time since 1997 as Davis hit 33 homers with 85 RBIs.

Editor’s note: David Driver is a free-lance writer in Maryland and can be reached at www.davidsdriver. com


Citizen of the year


Police officer enjoys cooking with his family

Along with being named Citizen of the Year, Greg Sowell is also a public information officer with the Nacogdoches Police Department, who owns and operates a Christmas tree farm and enjoys cooking delicious dishes with his family in his outdoor kitchen.

“I’ve been cooking as long as I can remember. My mother was a homemaker and did a very good job of it,” said Sowell. “I didn’t have a choice, I had to watch my mother cook. She taught me, over the years, how to make corn bread and biscuits. I can cook East Texas pretty well.”

In 1969, Sowell’s father decided to buy a grill and so began his knowledge of grilling.

“Crazy thing is, my mother, not even knowing what a grill looks like, the first thing she wanted to do is line it all with tin foil, and I still have that grill,” said Sowell.

Around the late 1970s or early ’80s, Sowell started hanging around Fire Station 3, where Larry Sanford, who was the cook when he wasn’t fighting fires, began teaching him more about how to cook in a skillet and for the masses.

“Larry Sanford taught me a lot about how to cook and how to cook things in a skillet, and make things for 10 or 12 people at a time.

It became something that I was interested in and kept doing. I passed that on, I hope, to my boys,” Sowell said.

Sowell and his two sons, Justin and Luke, enjoy cooking together in the outdoor kitchen he built about a year ago.

“I cook every year for the police department Christmas party, and I cook a lot of meat for that,” said Sowell. “I didn’t realize how much I was cheating myself until I built this kitchen out here because it made it so much easier.”

The guys enjoy cooking in the outdoor kitchen when friends come over, and Luke especially enjoys trying out new recipes that he either creates or old recipes that he puts his personal spin on.

“We usually cook out here whenever friends are over, and we all have our own experiments we want to try,” said Luke.

Sowell’s favorite part about cooking is seeing other people enjoy his creations.

“I really don’t eat that much of what I cook, but I enjoy other people eating it, and I like the ‘wow’ factor when they say ‘Man, that’s pretty good,’” he said.

Sowell was recently voted the 2012 Nacogdoches Citizen of the Year by the Chamber of Commerce and in 2003 he won third place for pork at the Do Dat Barbecue, the longtime barbecue cook-off that is no longer held in Nacogdoches.

“I am a product of Nacogdoches — I have never lived anywhere else. Probably the biggest honor I could imagine in my youth is being named Citizen of the Year, and this happened and I’m very thankful,” said Sowell. “It’s a wonderful, tremendous honor that I certainly didn’t expect. I am so honored and humbled that the chamber would vote me Citizen of the Year.”

I’ve been cooking as long as I can remember. My mother was a homemaker and did a very good job of it.”




Alyssa Lynn Swenson & Justin Lee McAninch

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Doug and Karen Swenson of Nacogdoches have announced the engagement and approaching marriage of their daughter, Alyssa Lynn Swenson of Nacogdoches to Justin Lee McAninch of Nacogdoches, son of Tommy and Cay McAninch of Nacogdoches. The ceremony is planned for 5:30p.m. Saturday, Feb. 4, 2012, at Perritte Memorial United Methodist Church. The bride-elect is a 2008 graduate of Nacogadoches and a December 2011 graduate of Stephen F. Austin State University. The prospective groom is a 2008 graduate of Nacogdoches High School.

Published in the Daily Sentinel on December 25, 2011

Richard Wayne Couch Jr. & Crystal Tiane Dempsey

Aubrey and Debbie Dempsey of Nacogdoches have announced the engagement and approaching marriage of their daughter, Crystal Tiane Dempsey of Nacogdoches, to Richard Wayne Couch Jr. of South Vineland, N.J., son of Richard Wayne Couch Sr. of San Antonio and Audrey Bylone Couch of South Vineland, N.J. The bride-elect is the granddaughter of Charles and Jackie Cates and A.D. and Maytrait Dempsey, all of Nacogdoches. She is a graduate of Nacogdoches High School and of Stephen F. Austin State University with a bachelor's degree in business administration, major in marketing. She is employed with National Oilwell Varco. Grandparents of the prospective groom are Charles and Pearl Bylone of Buena Vista, N.J., and Roselyn Couch-Colorado and Paul Colorado of San Antonio. He is a graduate of Vineland High School and Texas A&M University the a bachelor's degree in construction science, a minor in business and certification in leadership studies and development. He works as an estimator for Global Industries. The ceremony is planned for 2 p.m. Saturday, June 18, 2011, at Sacred Heart Catholic Church.

Published in the Daily Sentinel on 6/12/2011.

Posted: Wednesday, June 1, 2011 12:15 am

On Saturday, May 28, 2011, the Nacogdoches High School Alumni Association "NHSAA" lost a great friend and supporter - Cleon "Buck" Fausett. Buck was a true patriot of our country and will be missed by many.I met Buck in 2004, when I was elected to the NHSAA board. At first I was taken aback by his rough sailor talk and gruff manner, but soon came to love this aging veteran. I spent many hours with him talking about old times and the war, and soon learned that Buck had a heart of gold and a great concern for those less fortunate. Other than his family, his passions in life were working, his high school football days, his war years and scholarships for Nacogdoches High School students. Buck, at an early age, learned the value of hard work. His first job, at age 8, was delivering papers for the Houston Chronicle. His daily routine included getting up at midnight and riding his bike from Frost Mill to downtown Nacogdoches where he met his boss. They then drove to Cleveland, Texas, to pick up the newspapers. While driving back, Buck rolled the papers and prepared them for delivery. When they arrived in Nacogdoches, he got on his bicycle and threw the papers before going to school.


Richard and Jill Ivy of Nacogdoches have announced the engagement and approaching marriage of their daughter, Lauren Marie Ivy of Austin, to Allan Joseph Sieja of Austin, son of David and Theresa Sieja of Arlington. Grandparents of the bride-elect are Ocie and Joyce Westmoreland of Cushing and Edith Turnquist of Dallas and the late Jack Turnquist. Grandparents of the prospective groom are Dean and Marie Snider of Elm Mott and Edmund Sieja of Waco and the late Betty Sieja. The ceremony is planned for March 26, 2011, at Hickory Hill Farm in Cushing.

Published in the Daily Sentinel on 1/23/2011.

Gean Hale had many titles during his 89 years of life - athlete, coach, decorated veteran, family man, banker and community leader.
But to those who knew him well, Hale was "the old coach," one who always seemed to bring out the best in his teams during a 14-year coaching span when Nacogdoches' football program was in its heyday.
"He was always 'the coach,'" said G.W. Jones, a Dragon player during the early 1960s. "That title is truly the pinnacle of respect that can be conferred a man of this stature. I owe coach more than I can ever begin to repay."
"Whether it was a good day or a bad day, coach Hale could put it together," said Hyman Boozer, a defensive back for the Dragons. "We didn't have much speed and not much size. He just knew how to coach."
Hale died Saturday in Nacogdoches. Funeral services will be at 10 a.m. today at the First United Methodist Church in Nacogdoches.
A great storyteller, one of Hale's best was about how he became a college football player and, eventually, a high school football coach.
After an athletic high school career at Crockett, Hale was seeking a college football career but had few takers.
Someone told him to go visit the basketball coach at Blinn Junior College in Brenham about joining that program.
Hale hitchhiked to Blinn, only to learn that the basketball coach was not there that day.
It is this part of the story that Hale described as "divine intervention." The man who picked Hale up on his way back to Crockett told him to go see the head football coach at Kilgore.
Taking the man up on his advice, Hale received an offer to play at Kilgore, where he played center for two years and met his future wife, Judy, a Longview native and the first captain of the Kilgore Rangerettes.
It was at midfield during a Kilgore game with Tarleton College when Hale, serving as captain, met L.H. Mathews, Tarleton's captain, for the coin flip.
Hale went on to play center for Rice. One day after Rice played SMU Dec. 6, 1941, the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. At mid-term in February 1942, Hale joined the Army Air Corps, now the USAF. He received his flying wings and his commission as a second lieutenant and married Judy all in a "package deal" in San Antonio.
His military service included stints as a multi-engine flight instructor and "Flying the Hump," ferrying four 500-gallon tanks of aviation fuel from India, across Burma and into China over the Himalayan Mountains.
Hale said the main enemy on those missions was the weather, which included lightning storms and extreme cold temperatures, flying at an altitude of 27,000 feet. Hale said that on some missions, the lightning was so intense he and his crew hunkered down in the cockpit's floor, covered their heads and flew the plane while peering up to read the instrument panel.
Hale told a story of a mission when his plane was delayed and landed several hours after the other planes. Upon his arrival at the base, he walked up on other pilots who thought his plane had gone down and who were standing around memorializing him.
Hale received several military decorations for his distinguished service, including the Distinguished Flying Cross, two Air Medals, three Battle Stars and a medal from Chiang Kai-shek for contributions to China, among other awards.
Upon returning from the war, he and that former Tarleton captain, L.H. Mathews, who had also just returned from the military, served as co-captains of the football team at East Texas State College in Commerce.
After serving as an assistant football coach and head basketball coach at Palestine for four years, Hale took over a Nacogdoches Dragon football program that was 0-10 the year before he arrived.
With Mathews as his assistant coach, Hale coached Nacogdoches to an 83-53-6 record in 14 seasons that included three nine-win campaigns and a memorable 20-8 win over Lufkin during the 1958 season, when Nacogdoches was ranked No. 3 in the state in Class 3A and Lufkin was ranked No. 3 in the state in Class 4A.
But more important than the wins and losses were the discipline and values that Hale and Mathews instilled in their players, many of whom played college football after their high school careers were complete.
"They were very positive," said Milton Pitts, a former Dragon fullback and linebacker. "The coaches made it fun. I enjoyed workouts. They were well-organized. I felt like we were improving every day."
"There was never a time they ran onto the field at hollered at us, to make a show," Boozer said. "If they had something to tell us, it was you and them. They never embarrassed a kid."
While Hale coached the backfield players and Mathews the linemen, they developed a friendship on and off the field that remained strong until Mathews' death in 1994.
"They were a team," said Mathews' wife, Virginia Mathews. "They were really more like brothers. They loved each other.
"They believed in the same things - discipline and sportsmanship. They believed they were teaching the boys values in life."
The late Phil Prince, a player during Hale's tenure, returned to Nacogdoches after playing football at SMU to help coach the Dragons.
"He loved 'H' and Gean," said Prince's wife, Nancy. "Phil coached with other coaches, but they were the ultimate in coaching.
"They believed in discipline, and they were good men."
That sentiment was echoed by former Dragon players after they learned of Hale's death Saturday.
"They were men that we looked up to, by the way they lived their lives," said Mike Johnson, a 1963 Nacogdoches graduate who went on to play football at TCU. "You wanted to give them everything you had.
"They were good role models for all the players, and we looked up to them and respected them. We wanted to play hard for them."
Jones said Hale, Mathews, Prince and Joe Tom Harris, the head basketball coach and a football assistant coach, were "coaches seven days a week."
"They cared about us kids," Jones said. "They were fathers to us. Our dads were busy, trying to make a living for a half-dozen kids. They walked the walk. They practiced what they preached."
Johnson said Hale demanded that his teams never be defeated because another team was in better shape.
After a tri-scrimmage between Nacogdoches, Huntsville and Belton, a group of Dragon players were proud that they had convincingly handled the two opponents, only to have their celebration interrupted by Hale's request for the team to run wind sprints.
"It was in August - hot," Johnson said. "We were proud of ourselves. Hale told us to 'hit the sidelines and run sprints.'
"We ran and were like, 'he's got to be kidding.' The other teams were in their huddles, talking to their coaches and couldn't believe what we were doing."
"Coach Hale and coach Mathews wanted you to do it right," said former Dragon Grady Allen, who went on to star at Texas A&M and play five seasons in the NFL for the Atlanta Falcons. "They wanted us to make a commitment to improve.
"We respected those coaches. When they spoke, you listened - you heard what they were saying, and you wanted to respond."
After Hale's head coaching tenure at Nacogdoches, he was followed as head coach by Mathews, who was 28-12 in four straight winning seasons.
Mathews' 1967 team was 8-2, outscored opponents 252-92 and was ranked No. 1 in the state in Class 3A during the season.
Both Hale and Mathews have been inducted into the Texas High School Coaches Hall of Honor. Hale was also inducted into the Kilgore Ranger Athletic Hall of Honor in 2003.
Hale spent 26 years as a banker at Commercial National Bank of Nacogdoches, now Commercial Bank of Texas.
"He was very personable and liked to help people," said Boozer, a former banker. "He liked to see people prosper and accomplish things."
A member of the Nacogdoches Rotary Club, Hale served as chairman of the United Way, chairman of the American Red Cross, was a member of the board of directors of the Nacogdoches County Chamber of Commerce and served as president and founder of the Dragon Athletic Club. For several years, he served as radio commentator for Dragon football games.
Former Dragon players organized a reunion at the Dragon field house in 2004 that centered around honoring Hale and the men who coached with him.
Another reunion was held a few years ago at a local restaurant, when about 35 former players showed up for a visit with Hale.
"As the years go by, I'm sure I'll appreciate what he did and how he did it," Boozer said.


 Wilson Remembered at Memorial Service

SAYING GOODBYE: Longtime family friend Buddy Temple speaks at former U.S Rep. Charlie Wilson's memorial service at Angelina College's Temple Theater Sunday afternoon in Lufkin.
(AP Photo By Joel Andrews/The Lufkin Daily News)

LUFKIN (AP) - The late Rep. Charlie Wilson was a dedicated public servant who took his work but never himself seriously, friends recalled during a memorial service Sunday in his eastern Texas hometown of Lufkin.
Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, who is challenging Texas Gov. Rick Perry in next month's Republican primary, was among those honoring the fun-loving Texas congressman at Angelina College. The 76-year-old Wilson died Wednesday of cardiopulmonary arrest.
Wilson funneled millions of dollars in weapons to Afghanistan through backroom dealmaking, allowing the South Asian country's underdog mujahedeen rebels to beat back the mighty Soviet Red Army in the 1980s.
The 12-term member of the U.S. House from 1973 to 1996 was known in Washington as "Good Time Charlie" for his reputation as a hard-drinking womanizer.
The Dallas Morning News reported that former state Rep. Buddy Temple remembered the baptism of his 43-year-old daughter, Whitney, when Wilson became her godfather.
"We've got a problem," Temple quoted Wilson as saying. "I just talked to the preacher and he said I have to renounce the devil and all of his works. Would it be OK if I renounced the devil and some of his works?
"It was typical Charlie trying to convince us that he was a rogue and a scoundrel and a bad boy," said Temple. "But we weren't fooled. He was exposed by his good works."
Wilson, a Democrat, was considered both a progressive and a defense hawk. While his efforts to arm the mujahedeen in the 1980s were a success - spurring a victory that helped speed the downfall of the Soviet Union - he was unable to keep the money flowing after the Soviets left. Afghanistan plunged into chaos, creating an opening eventually filled by the Taliban, who harbored al-Qaida terrorists.
His efforts to help the Afghan rebels - as well as his partying ways - were portrayed in the movie and book "Charlie Wilson's War." In an interview with The Associated Press after the book was published in 2003, he said he wasn't worried about details of his wild side being portrayed.
"Charlie Wilson was one of a kind - loved by all who knew him - and he will be missed as one of our most distinguished and colorful leaders," Hut­chison said in a statement provided to the Lufkin Daily News. Hutchison faces Perry and Debra Medina in the GOP primary March 2.
A six-piece jazz band punctuated each eulogy with Wilson favorites including "As Time Goes By," "My Way," and, in honor of his years as a naval intelligence officer, "Anchors Aweigh" and "The Navy Hymn."
"He took his work seriously but he never took himself seriously," said his close friend Joe Christie, who served with Wilson in the Texas Legislature. "He changed the course of history, but he was not self important. That's why he was so ... fun to be with."
A volunteer for John F. Kennedy's 1960 presidential campaign, Wilson entered the Texas legislature in 1961 as "the liberal from Lufkin." Elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1972, he was an east Texas Democrat whose uncompromising positions on national security and anti-communism won the respect of Ronald Reagan.
"He'll be missed from the Golan Heights to the Khyber Pass, from the Caspian to the Suez and in the halls of Congress, for his civility, his willingness to listen and help and not posture," John Wing, who traveled with Wilson on his journeys to Pakistan and Afghanistan, told the crowd.
Wilson will be buried with full military honors Feb. 23 at Arlington National Cemetery in Washington, D.C.






Dating at NHS Through the Years


A Dance in the 1940's

 Milton Pitts, class of 1954, and his date smile for the camera at a Valentine’s Day party in the 1950s.

Pete and Mary Lee Evans Baublet at a formal dance in 1977. The two dated their junior and senior years of high school at NHS and then married. They will be celebrating 31 years of marriage in June.

Mike and Wendy Buchanan at Wendy’s prom in 1981.

Michele Simpson, class of 1992, recalled her husband, Preston as her first big crush at NHS. “I have this one thing that I saved from high school that I had written ‘I love Preston’ all over,” she said. After years apart following high school, the two married in 2003.

Michele Simpson, class of 1992, recalled her husband, Preston as her first big crush at NHS.

From The Daily Sentinel
Feb. 14, 2010
Just like fashion, music and hairstyles, dating at Nacogdoches High School changed considerably since the school first opened in 1903. Today, in recognition of Valentine's Day, readers can test their knowledge of the Dragons' dating scene with this courtship quiz.
1. What was the name of the gym where NHS students attended school dances?
A. Davis Gym
B. Thomas J. Rusk Auditorium
C. Dragon Coliseum
2. While there was no Valentine's Day dance, a group of students got together in 1940 to celebrate leap year. What did the girls send the guys for invitations?
A. Frog-shaped letters
B. roses
C. A corsage made from vegetables and fruits
3. In this decade, the popular hangout for high school students was a drug store owned by a Mr. Cook. Can you guess which corner the store was on?
A. University Drive and Starr Avenue
B. North and College Streets
C. Wettermark and North Streets
4. Unlike today, most high school students did not have cars. Can you guess what estimate Milton Pitts, class of 1954, gave of how many boys had cars in his senior year of high school?
A. 6
B. 3
C. 10
5. What did NHS high school students use to communicate with each other as they 'cruised' up and down North Street?
A. Their mouths
B. CB radios
C. Cans on strings
6. Students sent Valentine's Day messages to their sweethearts through what in this decade?
A. Dragon Echo
B. The Daily Sentinel
C. The yearbook
7. Guys were sent Valentine's Day hearts via the student council to become known as what in this decade?
A. Mr. Valentine's Day
B. Mr. Irresistible
C. Mr. McHotty
8. Lumberjack Drive-in was a popular outdoor movie theater in this decade. Where was it located?
A. Where Cotton Patch Cafe is now.
B. Where Wal-Mart is now.
C. Where the sheriff's office is now.
9. Where was a common place to go on a date in this decade?
A. Rita's Cantina
B. Sonic
C. Chili's
10. It wasn't uncommon to see this outfit on both boys and girls on a date in Nacogdoches in the early 1990s.
A. Adidas windpants and a T-shirt
B. Flannel shirt, white tank and faded jeans.
C. Marithé and François Girbaud jeans, Cole Haan shoes and a brown braided belt folded down and tucked under.
Michele Marcotte's e-mail address
The answers:
1. A. Joyce Swearingen, class of 1940, said when she was in high school, dances were held at Davis Gym on North Fredonia Street. She said the gym was named after one of the school districts first superintendents.
2. C. Swearingen said at the leap year dance of 1940, a group of girls sent their dates a corsage made of vegetables and fruits and then picked up the guys for the dance.
3. C. Milton Pitts, class of 1954, said College Drug on the corner of Wettermark and North Streets was owned by a Mr. Cook, who had two daughters in high school. He said the store has been torn down since then.
4. B. Pitts said high school girls at this time were often impressed by guys who had cars because there were so few who had them. Pitts said he only recalled three in his senior class having cars.
5. B. Pete Baublet, class of 1977, who married Mary Lee Evans Baublet, the 1977 Miss NHS, said the big thing when he was in high school was to cruise up and down North Street and go to Sonic. He said everybody was into CB radios because they didn't have cell phones, and used the radios to coordinate what was going to go on and where to meet.
6. A. Baublet said in addition to showing up to school with flowers, girls often received Valentine's Day messages from their boyfriends or friends through the school newspaper.
7. B. Claudette Brown, who worked as a sponsor for the NHS Student Council for many years, said in the 1980s students began to send hearts to guys at school through the student council, naming the one who received the most hearts "Mr. Irresistible."
8. C. Wendy Buchanan, class of 1981, who is married to Mike Buchanan, class of 1978, said when she was in high school everybody would go to Lumberjack Drive-In, especially in the summer, and park their cars to "just kind of hang out all night."
9. A. Michele Simpson, class of 1992, who is married to Preston Simpson, class of 1990, said Rita's Cantina was the place everyone went while she was in high school.
10. C. Simpson said both girls and guys wore basically the same thing when she was in high school. It was always Marithé and François Girbaud jeans and Cole Haan and a brown braided belt.

Photo by Andy Adams, The Lufkin Daily News Former Congressman Charlie Wilson of Lufkin smiles during the grand opening of the city's new VA Clinic, named after Wilson, in August 2009.
Posted: Wednesday, February 10, 2010 1:50 pm | Updated: 9:47 pm, Wed Feb 10, 2010.
Ashley Cook and Jessica Cooley, The Lufkin Daily News | 0 comments
Charlie Wilson, the former East Texas congressman whose behind-the-scenes work in Afghanistan became the subject of a major motion picture, died Wednesday in a Lufkin hospital. He was 76.
Wilson died at 12:16 p.m. Wednesday after suffering cardiopulmonary arrest, according to Bryant Krenek, president and CEO of Memorial Health System of East Texas. Wilson is survived by his wife of 11 years, Barbara, a sister and brother-in-law in Waco, and a niece and nephew.
"Charlie was a giant," said longtime friend Buddy Temple. "We have lost a giant. There won't be another like him."
Wilson had attended a T.L.L. Temple Foundation meeting earlier in the day. Temple said that after Wilson suffered some obvious distress, he began to transport him to the hospital. They happened upon an EMT vehicle along the way, and the medical staff took Wilson the rest of the way to the hospital.
Wilson served on the hospital's foundation board, and was closely connected to the extensive additions to the medical complex through the Temple Foundation.
"We consider him one of our own," Krenek said.
Wilson received a heart transplant Sept. 24, 2007, at Methodist Hospital in Houston. In the years since, he had slowed his travels and interviews, although he continued to do work for the people of East Texas, making appearances at various events and openings.
Wilson was born June 1, 1933, in Trinity, the small East Texas town where he entered politics in his teenage years by running against a city council incumbent who Wilson said had poisoned his dog. He became known as a rowdy congressman - one who, behind the scenes in the 1980s, helped fund the Afghan resistance against the Soviet Union. That story was chronicled in both a book and a movie titled "Charlie Wilson's War."
Wilson became known as "Good-Time Charlie" but apologized for his past behavior during a retirement ceremony in Lufkin in 1996.
Temple said Wednesday the book and movie did a disservice to Wilson, unfairly characterizing him as a playboy.
Wilson dedicated his life to making things better for the people he served, said Temple, naming such accomplishments as establishing the Big Thicket Preserve and, as a freshman legislator in Texas, introducing the sales tax bill and creating the Public Utilities Commission.
Temple, who'd been friends with Wilson since the two met through politics in 1964, said they used to laugh at high-spending politicians speaking up against earmarks.
As a 12-term U.S. House of Representatives member, Wilson was credited with securing millions of dollars for facilities and services in the 2nd Congressional District of Texas.
Former Nacogdoches Mayor Judy McDonald recalled how Wilson supported Nacogdoches, Nacogdoches County and Stephen F. Austin State University in achieving various goals.
"We were very short on airport runway, and Charlie is the one who got us the 5,000 foot runway," McDonald said. "He is the one who worked very hard with Mayor (A.L.) Mangham and got that 5,000 foot runway. That, to me, is just the most outstanding thing.
"The other thing is that he was so consistent, and he did it time and time and time again, with Stephen F. Austin," she said. "He always was there for us when we needed something for SFA."
McDonald also recalled Wilson's sense of humor and his willingness to help.
"Charlie and I got along very well," she said. "He was always kissing me on top of my head, because he was so much taller."
Known for his work to ensure that veterans got the benefits and medical care they deserved, Wilson will also be remembered for the many veterans he assisted and the families he impacted, McDonald said.
"Anything to get things done for veterans or pensions, Charlie was the very best there was," she said.
"He was always somebody that I knew we could depend on," McDonald said. "He got the job done for East Texas."
It was Wilson who made sure the VA clinic ended up in Lufkin, changing the name on the bill from Tyler, Temple said.
The slogan on his political campaign signs was always, "Wilson gets it done," Temple said.
Wilson is also the only civilian to receive the award of "Honored Colleague" by the CIA for his help in defeating the Soviet Union's Red Army in Afghanistan, as well as the Afghan medal of honor.
Former Lufkin Daily News reporter and 1977 Pulitzer prize winner Ken Herman, now a columnist with the Austin-American Statesman, sat down with Wilson in December to get his opinion on the current conditions in Afghanistan.
"Generally, I'm a pretty optimistic person, and I'm not very optimistic about this," Wilson told Herman. "I feel like I would not be surprised if in two years we've taken a lot of casualties and spent a lot of money and don't have much to show for it."
On a personal note, Temple, who together with his wife Ellen have been close friends of the Wilsons, said Charlie Wilson was the best person he'd ever known in showing unconditional love for his friends. That generosity of spirit came through in his great attachment to the people of East Texas, he said. That was a big part of why Wilson retired to Lufkin nearly five years ago, he said.
Honored with the Silver Bucket Award last March at the Pitser Garrison Civic Center, Wilson revealed another reason he chose to call Lufkin his retirement home during his acceptance speech.
"When I told people I'd retire in East Texas, they asked, ‘Why?' and I said because in East Texas people know if you're sick, and they care if you die," Wilson said.
Jim Turner, former Congressman who took the district office after Wilson, described him as a dedicated public servant who fought hard for the people of his district.
"Many of the things he did will outlast him, Turner said. "When he knew he was stepping down, he encouraged me to run. I'll always be grateful to him for his support and friendship. One of the last pieces of legislation I passed was a bill to name the new VA Clinic in his honor. He was bigger than life. He was very fortunate to have Barbara. She was the love of his life even when he was single. They had known each other a long time. It will be really hard for her. Our hearts and prayers go out to her."
Lt. Gen. Orren "Cotton" Whiddon (Ret.) of Lufkin and his wife Harriet have been friends of the Wilsons for years. Whiddon said Wilson represented the "very best of leadership" in East Texas. Wilson was selected for the U.S. Naval Academy, where he had an outstanding performance, and then served in the Navy for about six years, when he was an outstanding officer aboard a destroyer, Whiddon said.
It was Wilson's vision that helped provide for Afghan freedom from Russia, and he returned from many trips to that country back to East Texas to serve the people, Whiddon said. East Texas is also what brought him back home when he retired, according to Whiddon.
"He returned here, as most of us with pine rosin in our veins do," Whiddon said.
Wilson began his political career in 1960 when he was elected to the Texas House of Representatives, according to Stephen F. Austin State University Library, where his congressional papers are stored. He served in the Texas House of Representatives for six years and was then elected to the Texas Senate in 1966.
On Nov. 7, 1972, the second district of Texas elected Charles Wilson to the U.S. House of Representatives. He retired from the U.S. House of Representatives in 1996.
Funeral arrangements for Wilson are pending.
Daily Sentinel staff writer Michele Marcotte and Lufkin Daily News staff writer Melissa Hayes, editor Andy Adams and night editor Edwin Quarles contributed to this story.



Memories of Charles Stokes: Good history teachers never die, they just become legends


Contributing writer

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Charles Stokes was assuredly one of the kindest individuals you could hope to know. He was a tall, gentle man with an even larger heart. His quick wit, low-key temperament and wry sense of humor often concealed his serious, thoughtful and sensitive side.

For thirty-eight years he was devoted to the Social Studies department at NHS, his "faculty family" and friends. He inspired and advised generations of students to "make history," be aware of current events and travel the world. He also provided wise counsel and levity to his colleagues' daily lives.

My dad, Phil Prince, worked with him for nearly twenty years. Dad would have said Stokes was "first class," loyal, unselfish and fun. "Super Stokes" was truly an unique individual, and those who had the good fortune of knowing, working or learning with him are better people because of it.

While Stokes greatest legacy will undoubtedly be his love of teaching, we will never forget his incredible and unique sense of humor. His intelligence and understated comic timing gave him the uncanny ability to instantaneously fit humor into any situation or occasion. He branded teaching as his mission to "educate the youth of America."

My fondest memory of him is just an image that reminds me of the Golden Dragon Years. Stokes, Coach Farshid and my dad are giggling like school girls, over nothing more than good conversation and a cup of coffee.

I am sure many of you out there have your own favorite Stokes story, and I am convinced nobody would have enjoyed hearing them more than Stokes himself.

NHS journalism advisor Emily Taravella and her students have established an online memorial, "Remembering Charles Stokes," at I encourage you to take a moment and share a bit of his-story.

In honor of his commitment to the Alumni Association "The Charles Stokes Memorial Scholarship" has been established by his colleagues, friends and family. Contributions can be made can be made to the Nacogdoches High School Alumni Association. PO box 632152.

The following are the previously published articles by Charles Thomas Stokes, Class of 1966.


By Charles Stokes '66,

Contributing Writer



Phil Prince, what a fearsome reputation he had, and what a wonderful man he truly was. I did not discover this until I began teaching at NHS in 1972 and we became close friends.

Dora Grant, the living symbol of NHS for generations of graduates. At a class reunion, I ended up in charge of creating awards to be voted on. One was "Miss Grant Would be Proud of You", accompanied by a large picture of the lady. Sally Reid Allen won. There was also "Miss Grant Would be Ashamed of You". I don't recall who won that, although there were many worthy candidates.

A varsity football staff of three.

We could leave campus for lunch.

Quitting football and always regretting it.

Sara Bess Brookshire McDougald Dudley. A lot of us had a crush on her. The Speech classes I had with her were crucial in helping a shy, introverted teenager become more self confident.

Working after school at Piggly Wiggly grocery; fifty cents an hour, twelve hour day on Saturday when I started. I eventually made a dollar.

No air conditioning. The heat and humidity could turn the tops of desks, and the backs of chairs that had numerous coats of varnish into sticky surfaces that could tear a piece of paper, pull hairs out of your arm, or leave a gooey mark on the back of your shirt that would upset your mom.

Cruising North Street on weekend nights, bowling alley to John's Restaurant and back again.

Girls were not allowed to wear pants to school.

The assassination of President Kennedy. The radio stations played funeral dirges all day.

The Beatles and the "British Invasion" of 1964 seemed to break the solemn mood that had existed since the assassination. In 1965, a friend and I saw them in concert in Houston. I still have the ticket and the program.

Long hair on boys began to appear. Nobody was quite sure what to make of this.

Friends you went through school with. Some remained close for years after, but as middle age approached, I realized that I rarely had any contact with any of my high school buddies. Some moved away, some died, others simply drifted into different circles, interests, etc. We are not mad at each other; life simply has taken us in different directions. What a shame.

Corporal punishment was deemed a suitable way to deal with discipline problems. I have mixed feelings about it as a disciplinary tool, but must admit we did not seem to have many problems.

NHS made it to the quarterfinals in football in 1965, the farthest we have ever advanced I believe.

How much simpler life seemed: no Loop, University Drive, cell phones, internet, computers, blackberrys, ipods, text messaging, chain restaurants, Hummers, multi channel cable TV, microwaves; none of an almost endless array of things deemed absolutely necessary today. But we seemed to get along just fine somehow.

I am proud to be a lifetime member of the Nacogdoches High School Alumni Association. I believe in their cause and their purpose, benefiting past, present, and future students. After visiting the NHSAA office last week, I was impressed with the Book "N" Collection; the memorabilia brought back many memories. The office is located on the NHS campus in Room 500, next to the auditorium.


By Charles Stokes '66, NHS History Teacher

Teacher 1972 - 2008

Contributing Writer


I remember:

My first contract, $6,000.

• When I discovered teaching is hard work; that it is not a job you leave at school at the end of the day. Making lesson plans, working up material, grading. As you gain experience and build up a backlog of material it lessens, but never goes away.

• Teaching U.S. History, World History, Texas Studies, Social Studies Research, Fundamentals of Free Enterprise System, U.S. Government, World Geography, Economics.

• Teaching in the Old Red Building, for 7 years; the last two after it had been condemned.

• My 6th period U.S. History class that first year. Boy, did they give me an education.

• No air conditioning in the classrooms. The Chamberlain Building was eventually air conditioned, it was not. Students just loved coming to classes there.

• Having to keep the windows open because of the heat. Pollinating bees, wasps, and other flying insects visited frequently.

• Driving a bus for nine years. That makes for a very long day.

• The move to the new high school building. All of the room numbers and signs indicating boys/girls restrooms, etc., were attached with Velcro. Mass confusion ensured once the students figured this out.

• The many colleagues who became friends.

• Those students I taught that went on to have successful careers and productive lives.

• Those students I taught who have had hard lives. All too frequently I see the name of someone I taught in the arrest report or court reports in the newspaper. How sad.

• The first time a former student died.

• Those special students with whom you form a personal bond.

• Johnny Walker. If God set out to create a high school principal, Johnny is what he would come up with.

• When a Playboy Bunny visited me in the Teacher's Lounge on my 40th birthday. Actually she was the wife of an SFA Professor and did this for birthdays, etc. Pretty innocent stuff really, although I believe I did have to take her garter off with my teeth while the faculty watched. Today this would never happen for the fear of offending someone.

• Discussion around the "Swearing Table" at lunch with Drew Seely, Gordon Fountain, Greg Sowell, John Wayne Valdez, Jerry Winfield, and Mary Smith.

• The first time I taught the child of a former student.

• The first time a former student told me they were a grandparent.

• Working with former students who became teachers.

• Watching the September 11 tragedy unfold with students.

• Rarely going anywhere without seeing someone I taught.

• Looking through annuals and literally seeing me age year by year.

• Drew Seely, Gordon Fountain and I going around to each senior classroom and singing the Janis Joplin song "Mercedes Benz"; promoting it for senior class song.

• A million other people and memories that flood my mind.

• Creation of the Nacogdoches High School Alumni Association in 1994 and the grand opening of their office – Room 500 next to the auditorium – in 2005. Paying $100 for an NHSAA life membership is the easiest way to be a part of something positive in Nacogdoches.

Remember When
 Transcribed from THE DRAGON ECHO, Tuesday, May 21, 1974 written by Jan Dobbs
Seniors Look Back to Many Memories
1974 - "our year" - it's almost over.  We have no time left to make memories, we've already made them and they're pasted in our minds and scrapbooks.  We'll never forget our life at NHS.
It began with a bang.  The freshman class from EJC joined forces with the ex-TJR eighth-graders and thus was born the largest class in NHS history.  As freshmen, we all joined Pep Squad and cheered our Ninth Grade football team to the District Championship.  We took English I, Physical Science, Health, and we even had a study lab!  It was declared okay for girls to wear "pantsuits during inclement weather", remember?  We got to participate in Western Day then, too.  How about running to Scottie's and the Yankee Doodle Ice Cream Parlor for lunch despite rain, snow, sleet or even ice?  Can you remember all the characters in The Odyssey and Animal Farm?  And how about those teachers we had that are not at NHS anymore (We were really too much for them!) - Mrs. Lester, Mr. Hunter, and Coach St. Ama?  We got lost quite a lot even though we still had half of our classes in the TJR building, but we were the big Class of '74!
We became tough sophomores in '71.  We took biology and learned that dissecting frogs wasn't all that bad.  And the excitement of Driver's Ed., the Simulator, Mr. Guidry, and getting our licenses!  Who could ever forget hauling our younger friends around on Friday and Saturday night?  We finally found out about the Sonic and some of us even started going Kettlin'.  We were Varsity Pep Squad members and we cheered our Golden Dragons on to the District Championship in football.  Remember the parade and bonfire before the big bi-district game?  Who could possibly forget the frost-bitten feet, hands and noses after the game?  And remember those terrific last minute wins of our regional basketball finalists - the Dragon Basketball team?  Remember those games at Jacksonville, Tyler and College Station?  Remember how excited we all were when we won and how everybody kissed everybody else?  Hey girls, do you remember learning the high-kick so we could try out for the Drill Team?  And what about the party afterwards for those who made it?  Do you still remember Julius Caesar and its tragic character?  And how about the golden summer after our sophomore year?
Junior year started and we were over the hump!  We played our first football game in Dragon Stadium.  We made the Old Mill Club scene, remember?  How can we ever forget Mrs. Sunda, Mrs. Reese, and Mrs. Stransky, our favorite English III teachers?  And do you remember taking American History, Chemistry, and PE?  The year zipped by and finally we were getting our senior rings!  The seniors of '73 got out three days early and we got practice at being seniors a year early.  Summer was highlighted with having our senior pictures made at the Lorelei.  Some industrious students even went to summer school at SFA on the Junior Summer Program.
And then, finally, we were actually Seniors!  We took Advanced English, Government and English IV.  We read Hamlet and did research papers; remember all those note cards?  Some of us even went to SFA on the deferred credit program.  We had a successful year in sports and saw Coach Gordon Brown's last season.  Remember our last homecoming at NHS?  How about being club duchesses and football duchesses?  Can you still remember our last Homecoming Dance?  And remember how everybody cried when the Golden Dragons beat Marshall for Coach Brown?  Remember Camelot, the spring musical?  Remember morning talk sessions in the traditional before-school place for seniors?  Remember Western Day and Fifties Day and the Awards Assembly?
Remember when our caps and gowns and invitations came in?  And who could ever forget all the senior parties!  It seemed like our class was trying to set another record - for the most senior parties and formals!  But, as the song says, "Now the end is near."  We've worked together, laughed together, cried together and hopefully grown up together.  How can we ever forget any of it?

Candlelight Vigil in Todd Henry's Memory


By Anthony Austin

Students, teachers, and family members held a candlelight vigil on Thursday night to remember slain John Tyler Teacher Todd Henry.

Just looking around the crowd, you could tell that hearts were heavy tonight. As two schools came together to remember the teacher who died such a tragic death.

Songs of encouragement were lifted in the parking lot of New Life Community Church.

As students, co-workers, remembered Todd Henry, a teacher who was fatally stabbed in his classroom allegedly by a student.

"It's just something inside of me that wanted me to come out tonight, to show that we're not all bad students, that we do care," said John Tyler Senior, Veronica Flores.

Henry's wife, Jan, stood surrounded by her family. She offered her own words of encouragement to a grieving crowd.

"He loved John Tyler, he wanted to make a difference, and you know what, he's going to make a difference," Jan Henry told the crowd.

J.T.'s friendly sports rival, Robert E. Lee High School, hosted the candlelight vigil.

"Our staff wore blue today, and made ribbons for our teachers to wear," commented Robert E. Lee Accountant, Lezlie Boyd.

But this night, both schools stood united as one.

"It's not Northside, Southside, It's Tyler ISD. We all serve the same students," explained Robert E. Lee Principal Roger McAdoo.

"We know this was an isolated incident and that this could happen to anyone, anywhere," responded Boyd.

As a town comes to terms with the death of a man, whose family said he loved his students and his community.

"I wish everybody could just see the impact of this, it's just no words for me to explain it," added Flores.

It may be a time of darkness, but the lights they hold stand not for a life lost. But a life that will be remembered, a life that was well lived.


My friend Jan and her husband Todd, the teacher who was killed at John Tyler this morning.   UPDATE: John Tyler Teacher Killed In School Stabbing
Todd Henry's personal Web site

Todd Henry's MySpace page

Todd Henry played keyboards and guitar in the Grant Cook Band

Mayor Announced Teacher's Death At City Council Meeting

Were you inside John Tyler High School this morning? If so, and if you have photos or video to share with, please send it to

A teacher was stabbed early this morning and later died in an an incident which has kept the John Tyler High School campus locked down for much of the morning.

A reliable source told the Tyler Paper that the name of the deceased is Todd Henry, a teacher at John Tyler. Tyler Mayor Barbara Bass interrupted the City Council meeting this morning to say that the individual who had been stabbed had died, and she asked for a moment of prayer in his memory.

Superintendent of Schools Dr. Randy Reid told the Tyler Paper that the incident took place in a classroom. Henry was removed by ambulance to East Texas Medical Center in Tyler. A hospital spokeswoman said the hospital would have no comment on the patient.

The student suspected in the stabbing is in custody, Reid said. The student's name has not yet been released.

Within the next few minutes, Tyler ISD officials are expected to allow parents to pick up their children from John Tyler High School. Concerned parents who live in the apartment complex across from the high school began to cross Loop 323 on foot at 9:24 a.m., but they were met by school district officials and told to stay back. They were not permitted in the building. A Tyler Paper reporter on the scene described a large gathering of parents who complained to Reid and Angela Jenkins, school district spokesperson, about a perceived lack of security at the school.

John Tyler High School was locked down in the 9 a.m. CDT hour today. A Tyler Paper reporter on the scene said all of the gates and doors were locked, three ambulances were on the scene, as well as Tyler and Tyler ISD police. One person was loaded into an ambulance at 9:22 a.m., the Tyler Paper reporter said. The students were moved to a gymnasium while the school was locked down, Reid said.

Emergency radio traffic monitored at the Tyler Paper newsroom indicated that a fight escalated to the point that TISD police had to call for backup from Tyler Police.

Another ambulance was sent to John Tyler High School at approximately 10:10 a.m. CDT, for someone reportedly suffering heart attack or stroke symptoms, according to a Tyler Paper reporter on the scene. will post additional details as they become available.

Updated Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2009 at 12:06 a.m. CDT


      UPDATE: John Tyler Teacher Killed In School Stabbing
Todd Henry's personal Web site

Todd Henry's MySpace page

Todd Henry played keyboards and guitar in the Grant Cook Band

Mayor Announced Teacher's Death At City Council Meeting

Were you inside John Tyler High School this morning? If so, and if you have photos or video to share with, please send it to

A teacher was stabbed early this morning and later died in an an incident which has kept the John Tyler High School campus locked down for much of the morning.

A reliable source told the Tyler Paper that the name of the deceased is Todd Henry, a teacher at John Tyler. Tyler Mayor Barbara Bass interrupted the City Council meeting this morning to say that the individual who had been stabbed had died, and she asked for a moment of prayer in his memory.

Superintendent of Schools Dr. Randy Reid told the Tyler Paper that the incident took place in a classroom. Henry was removed by ambulance to East Texas Medical Center in Tyler. A hospital spokeswoman said the hospital would have no comment on the patient.

The student suspected in the stabbing is in custody, Reid said. The student's name has not yet been released.

Within the next few minutes, Tyler ISD officials are expected to allow parents to pick up their children from John Tyler High School. Concerned parents who live in the apartment complex across from the high school began to cross Loop 323 on foot at 9:24 a.m., but they were met by school district officials and told to stay back. They were not permitted in the building. A Tyler Paper reporter on the scene described a large gathering of parents who complained to Reid and Angela Jenkins, school district spokesperson, about a perceived lack of security at the school.

John Tyler High School was locked down in the 9 a.m. CDT hour today. A Tyler Paper reporter on the scene said all of the gates and doors were locked, three ambulances were on the scene, as well as Tyler and Tyler ISD police. One person was loaded into an ambulance at 9:22 a.m., the Tyler Paper reporter said. The students were moved to a gymnasium while the school was locked down, Reid said.

Emergency radio traffic monitored at the Tyler Paper newsroom indicated that a fight escalated to the point that TISD police had to call for backup from Tyler Police.

Another ambulance was sent to John Tyler High School at approximately 10:10 a.m. CDT, for someone reportedly suffering heart attack or stroke symptoms, according to a Tyler Paper reporter on the scene. will post additional details as they become available.

Updated Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2009 at 12:06 a.m. CDT




Local residents recall the fun and shenanigans of oldest school rivalry in Texas


The Daily Sentinel


Thursday, September 10, 2009

There was the year the letter "N" appeared in the center of the Panther football field. Then there was the time a group of students drenched the Lufkin team rocks in Dragon colors. And of course, not many can forget when a Nacogdoches student ended up in the Lufkin yearbook thanks to his unique paint job to the Lufkin High School building.

For nearly a century, the Nacogdoches-Lufkin rivalry has inspired some creative shenanigans, many of which are being recalled this week as the Dragons prepare to take on the Panthers at 7:30 p.m. today at Dragon Stadium.

Contributed photo
Nacogdoches High School students from the late 1980s pose with the Panther team rock from that year, after painting it in their school colors. The rocks were displayed somewhere on the LHS campus, and listed the roster of players and team wins.

"Everyone knows about the Nacogdoches-Lufkin football rivalry that has gone on for years," 1955 graduate Morris Ray Fuller wrote in an e-mail response to his past rivalry antics.

He said his participation in the tradition came about during his junior year, and resulted in his picture being taken for the Lufkin yearbook.

In the days leading up to the 1953 game, Fuller said both Nacogdoches and Lufkin students were eager to paint the opposing school.

"We would sit around and talk about how we could get the job done without being caught," he said.

One night, a group, which consisted of Fuller, John Nutt, Albert Triana, Kenneth McShan and Pat Robinson, made their way to the school with a bucket of black tire paint.

"It was about midnight when we arrived," he began. "We got out of the car and started up to the school building." Fuller said they only made it as far as the porch when they heard the night watchman approaching.

"We all took off in different directions, but I was carrying the paint," he said. "Before I took off, I threw the bucket towards the building, and paint splattered everywhere ... The other guys ran for the car, but I took off down a dirt road across from school."

Fuller said he dove under a nearby house, which was occupied by three old hound dogs, and when the police stopped to check the house, he hoisted himself up under the braces of the house and hid, and the officers only saw the dogs.

He hitched a ride back to Nacogdoches and went to school the next day as if nothing had happened.

"I found out that my buddies had been caught by the police, and taken to the station. They got to talking and were sent home," he said, adding that when the school principal called him into his office that day, he knew he was "in for it."

The group was forced to go to Lufkin to scrub away the painted mess, as LHS students watched, having been released from class by their principal.

"The school photographer was taking pictures, and I turned around and shot him the bird just as he snapped my picture," Fuller said.

The picture landed in the 1954 Lufkin High School yearbook, and made quite a story for the 1953 Nacogdoches-Lufkin game, according to Fuller.

Jan Mooney Rhodes, a 1974 graduate, recalled another antic that former Dragons might remember from the 1973 game.

On this particular year, the Panthers had just moved into a brand new stadium.

The stadium had a cultivated carpet of green grass, and the rival game against the NHS was going to be the first one played on the field.

"Four senior NHS Dragon band boys couldn't resist the temptation to make a name for themselves," she wrote in an e-mail that recollected the incident. "... Under a cover of darkness, they sneaked into Abe Martin Stadium and carefully lined out three letters measuring 10 yards tall, NHS. Then, as the story goes, they filled in the letters with gasoline."

The boys then lit the gasoline on fire, burning the letters into the Panther's new field.

Lisa Steed, 1975 graduate recalled the incident a bit differently. She said she only remembered it being the letter "N" rather than NHS.

"It burned a big beautiful "N" into that field," she said. "The next night at the game, it was apparent that they had tried to disguise the "N" because the field had been painted green. Both teams had green all over them before it was all over."

Virginia Mathews, the wife of then head football Coach H Mathews, also recalled seeing the giant "N" inscribed on the field at the Friday night game.

"I did not see them do it, but I went to the game and they had sprayed green all over it," Mathews said, with a giggle.

But, the 1973 antics did not stop there. That same year, Steed said she and a group of four friends drove to the home of the Lufkin quarterback and deposited a used toilet on his front lawn.

"It was a beautiful sight to behold," Steed said, adding that the group also wrapped every tree in sight with toilet paper.

Dena Haney Giddens, a 1986 graduate, said she recalled one year in the late 1980s, a group of students painted the Lufkin rock before the game. The rocks, which were discontinued at some point, held the roster of each Panther team along with the wins.

While the antics are a large part of what local residents remembered this week as the game day drew near, for many former players, it was the games themselves.

Mike Johnson, a former player, remembered the 1962 win, in which he and his teammates beat Lufkin for the first time in 22 years, with distinction.

"The whole town of Nacogdoches celebrated that night," Johnson recalled of the win. "I understand there was a line of cars stretching from Lufkin to Nacogdoches with horns blaring. Every place I went that night and the whole weekend, people were talking about the game."

Tickets for tonight's game are sold out. Coach Farshid Niroumand said tickets, which went on sale Tuesday morning and were sold out by 1:15 p.m. Wednesday, went much faster than expected.

But many local residents said that is evidence of the amount of support the community will give the Dragons as they take on their rivals tonight for the 92nd time.

Teen court shows area youth the inner workings of legal system


Sentinel Staff


Tuesday, September 15, 2009


The Nacogdoches County Teen Court is gearing up for a 13th straight year of trials with training that started Monday night where half a dozen soon-to-be volunteer defense attorneys and prosecutors got their first doses of the legal system. 

Teen Court provides teens ages 12 through 18 who have committed their first misdemeanors and pleaded no-contest to minor infractions, such as public intoxication, possession of tobacco or excessive speeding, a chance to get off with lighter sentences through community service. Other teens get practical experience trying the cases on both sides of the bench, and others volunteer for jury duty, clerical work and bailiffs.

Staff photo by Trent Jacobs
Precinct 4 Justice of the Peace Judge David Perkins explains the goal of Teen Court to some prospective legal eagles Tuesday night at the Pct. 3 courthouse.


The only adult who will likely be present for all of the proceedings that are scheduled to begin later this month and run twice a month until the beginning of May, will be the man who established the teen court for the county, Precinct 4 Justice of the Peace Judge David Perkins.

"It gives the juveniles a chance to see what the judicial system really is. They may have a friend, a family member or themselves come into a courtroom type environment sometime in the future and they'll know what to expect," he said.

But the program isn't set up to just help those teenage defendants to keep their records clean. The program tries about 35 cases a year, which saves the county thousands of dollars, according to Nacogdoches attorney Beth Brice, who helps train the high school attorneys to act out the courtroom dramas they've watched on TV.

"What I've found about these students is that a lot of them have come into this with a lot information to begin with," Brice said. "They watch a lot of 'Law and Order' type shows on TV, so they already have a good handle on the steps. We try to get down to more specifics, but they have a pretty good grasp of it even before they get in here."

For parents of teen offenders, the deal is pretty sweet, too. They don't have to end up paying for their offsprings' faults and instead can take pride in the community service, jury duty, research papers and written apologies that their sons or daughters are sentenced to do by their peers. Court fees for each case cost a total of $20 compared to a speeding ticket that could cost well over $150.

"The time they spend doing community service, well that's not as bad as having mom and dad fork out their own money," said Teen Court Coordinator Gae Mitchell, who volunteers her own time with the program, as well to helping organize the court, a job she has been doing for seven years.

She says that some of the community service includes working at places like GODTEL, The Goodwill Store, the Nacogdoches Animal Shelter and even churches and volunteer fire departments.

"We basically let them do anything that's going on or helps out the community," she said.

Nearly all of the teens getting a crash course on American Jurisprudence Monday night said that it was their first time to participate. The experience is something the student participants could put on future applications, should they aim for law school a few years down the road.

"Most of them are leaning towards becoming attorneys later on in life, and this just gives them a taste of it to see if it's really what they want to be doing or not," Mitchell said.

Teen Court training will resume Tuesday night at 6:30. Anyone wanting to participate in Teen Court, which meets at the Precinct 3 courtroom off of state Highway 7 east twice a month on Mondays, can contact Mitchell at 560-2438.  

Kimberly Ann Coats & Carlton Joseph Harris















 The Daily Sentinel


Lumberjacks getting ready for the dance

Lead Image

Photo by Hardy Meredith

SFA Lumberjack basketball players, from left, Nick Shaw, Josh Alexander, Eric Bell, Eddie Williams and Matt Kingsley answer questions during a press conference in Miami Thursday. The Lumberjacks face the Syracuse Orange at 11:15 a.m. Friday at the American Airline Arena in Miami, Fla. in the NCAA tournament. The game will air on CBS.

Susan Smith Lewis' Mom

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Music Row Applauds Marty Dodson and Jim Collins

NASHVILLE, February 12, 2009 - Music Row revelers gathered in BMI’s writer/publisher lobby Wednesday, February 11 to toast Marty Dodson and Jim Collins, co-writers of Kenny Chesney’s latest no. 1 smash “Everybody Wants to Go to Heaven.” The blithely clever song marks Collins’ third trip to the top of the charts with Chesney: Collins is also the one of the pens behind “The Good Stuff” and Chesney’s signature song “She Thinks My Tractor’s Sexy.” Also no stranger to the upper echelon of the charts, Dodson co-wrote Billy Currington’s “Must Be Doin’ Something Right” and Rascal Flatts’ “While You Loved Me.”

PHOTO: Pictured are BMI executives celebrating with the publishers and songwriters of “Everybody Wants to Go To Heaven”

l to r: BMI’s Jody Williams; publisher Mike Sebastian of Blacktop Music; producer Buddy Cannon; co-writers Marty Dodson and Jim Collins; BMI’s Clay Bradley; publishers Billy Lynn and Daniel Hill of Cal IV Entertainment.

Photo credit: Alan Mayor

  From The Tennesseean Feb 13, 2009


Songwriters are in heaven over latest Chesney hit


Jim Collins is no stranger to No. 1 songs. He's had so many of them that he's lost count.

However, he does remember the last one — "Everybody Wants to Go to Heaven" — and so does his co-writer Marty Dodson.

The writing duo celebrated the success of the Kenny Chesney hit this week with a No. 1 party at BMI that was attended by more than 100 industry executives, family and friends of the duo. Guests munched on chicken skewers, stuffed mushrooms and cupcakes while the songwriters made jokes from the stage.

"Jim told me he didn't think any of his friends were going to show up," Marty said, laughing. "Somebody give him a hug."

Before the party got under way, Collins and Dodson took a few minutes to remember writing the reggae-infused Chesney hit.

"It was one of those weeks when I had worked on lots of deep, sad, poetic songs," Collins said. "I wanted to write something fun, and Marty threw that out there. It was just a little groove that felt kind of good."

The song is Collins' fifth with Kenny Chesney. He also wrote "The Good Stuff" and "She Thinks My Tractor's Sexy," among others.

"I've got every publisher in town now, if I turn in a song with somebody, the first thing they say is 'Let's pitch this to Kenny,' " he says. "Maybe it's my phrasing, but I never really think about it. I'm glad that Kenny likes what I do."

That said, the two maintain they didn't write "Everybody Wants to go to Heaven" with Chesney in mind. George Strait actually planned to record the song first. Indeed, he was the person who first played it for Chesney.

"If I do go in and try and write something for an artist, it just bogs me down," Collins says. "Then you start thinking, 'Well, what would he like?' instead of writing the song the best you can."

'Best you can' can take days

Dodson adds that sometimes, when working with Collins, writing a song "the best you can" can take days, just as it did to complete "Everybody Wants to Go to Heaven."

"Jim never leaves it alone," Dodson says. "The phone will ring about 7 or 7:30 (p.m.), and I'll know it will be Jim, and that he's changed something."

Dodson isn't complaining, though. It's a method that works for them, so he just hopes the hits keep coming.

Back at the party, Jody Williams, BMI vice president writer/publisher relations, Nashville, noted that both writers are accomplished at their craft. He added that, even though it's been a few weeks since "Everybody Wants to Go to Heaven" hit the top of the charts, "it's never too late to throw down for a big No. 1."

After his introductory remarks, Williams presented Dodson with a commemorative No. 1 acoustic guitar from BMI. (Collins already has one, which he actually used when writing "Everybody Wants to Go to Heaven.")

Representatives from each writer's publishing company made presentations to those associated with the song's hit status, including Chesney's producer, Buddy Cannon. Executives from the Country Music Association and Country Radio Broadcasters followed suit, then left the songwriters to muse about how different their lives would be without Chesney.

"I've had enough Kenny Chesney hits now that when he starts recording, my phone starts ringing," Collins says. "People say, 'Hey, I have this idea.' "

For Dodson, who also co-wrote "Must Be Doin' Somethin' Right" for Billy Currington, the change is less noisy.

"I thank God every day I get to do this for a living," he says. "It's more than I ever dreamed I would get to do."

Reach Cindy Watts at  615-664-2227  615-664-2227 or

Donna Alders Rogers Son Justin:

 February 3, 2009

February 3, 2009
Nacogdoches firefighter Justin Rogers uses a rake to put out a brush fire in an area a hose could not reach Tuesday in the 300 block of CR 621. South Nacogdoches, Lake Nacogdoches and Douglass Volunteer Fire Departments, along with the Texas Forest Service, assisted in extinguishing the blaze. The cause of the fire was unknown at press time but burned approximately 6-7 acres, according to Deputy Chief Frankie Hamby. Although the ground was wet and muddy, which hindered some of the firetrucks from moving closer to the fire, the Texas Forest Service was able to cut a ditch with a bulldozer to help prevent the fire from spreading. Photo by Christy Wooten The Daily Sentinel.

Texas town forever twinned with Columbia

On fifth anniversary, reminders of shuttle disaster remain in Nacogdoches

By Monica Rhor

updated 4:00 p.m. CT, Thurs., Jan. 31, 2008

NACOGDOCHES, Texas - The bronze medallion embedded in the pavement behind the Commercial Bank of Texas is easy to overlook. About the size of a DVD, it barely registers as a bump for the cars pulling up to use the bank's curbside service window.

But it is there — engraved with the name of the space shuttle Columbia and the date five years ago Friday that it exploded over the skies of East Texas.

The metal disc serves as a quiet tribute to the spot where a piece of the shuttle's wing crashed to Earth in downtown Nacogdoches, and the day this tranquil town of about 30,000 was catapulted into national consciousness.

It is that way all over Nacogdoches, which proudly bills itself as "The Oldest Town in Texas." Inside hotels, homes and offices — everywhere that pieces of STS-107 rained down from the heavens — reminders of that day remain. Some are tucked away meticulously in private memory; others displayed in public memorials.

Five years after Columbia disintegrated 63 kilometers over Texas as it returned from a 16-day mission, one thing is clear: The identity of this tight-knit community will be forever twinned with the fate of Columbia.

"It is something that is still a part of my life, and probably everybody else who had part in this particular mission. And I think it always be," said Nacogdoches County Sheriff Thomas Kerss, who helped lead the recovery efforts following the disaster. "Regardless of how long I live, I will always have a keen awareness of what we had to go through, and the obstacles we overcame to accomplish some of what we did."

It was this town about 217 kilometers north of Houston lay directly under the shuttle's flight path, and so directly under the path of the debris scattered across hundreds of kilometers when Columbia exploded on Feb. 1, 2003, just 16 minutes from landing, killing all seven astronauts on board.

And it was this town that became the epicenter of the search for whatever was left of the shuttle. More than 85,000 pieces that still comprised only about 38 percent of the craft were eventually recovered.

In the first few hours after the explosion, no one knew what to expect.

Townspeople stood on the street staring at the piece of wing that dropped there and was quickly surrounded by armed National Guardsmen. More than 2,000 volunteers and searchers, including the Guard, U.S. Forest Service workers and NASA engineers, as well as reporters,

television crews and photographers descended on Nacogdoches and its neighboring towns.

"Like any disaster, great things came out of it and then there are memories I don't really want to go to," said Dr. James C. Kroll, director of the Columbia Geospatial Service Center, which put on the exhibit.

Now, no one will ever forget those weeks in which a small-town community, thrust by happenstance into an American tragedy, discovered an abiding sense of pride in its own fortitude and generosity.

"There was an overwhelming sense of patriotism and of just human emotion of wanting to help and of wanting to do what we could," said Kerss, who keeps photographs of the Columbia on his desk and office walls. "I don't think it's the disaster itself that is the defining moment, I think it's how we respond to adversity. I think our community saw a very positive and professional response to a disaster of such magnitude, and it left them with a sense of pride."

Nacogdoches seems to cradle the events of that day, and the days that followed, with a special reverence.

On a back wall inside the Commercial Bank, the Columbia disaster is memorialized in a collage of photographs, newspaper clippings and handwritten notes. "We rember you Columbia," reads one note in a misspelled childish scrawl.

On the other side of the town square, inside a spacious but musty storefront, hundreds of people have visited the "Memories of Columbia" exhibit, which features NASA artifacts, front page reprints, topographic maps of the search grids and a small model of the shuttle carrying bouquets of dried flowers, tiny stuffed teddy bears and notes bidding farewell to Columbia's crew.

At the Nacogdoches County Expo Center, an 18-hectare complex that served as the staging area for the recovery efforts, wooden bleachers and cavernous dirt-floored barns normally used to stage rodeos and horse shows were transformed into waiting areas and tent housing for hundreds of searchers and volunteers.

On the grounds where livestock are penned and football teams practice, NASA set up a portable trailer where engineers inspected the shuttle remains recovered by search teams or turned in by county residents.

Every day, hundreds of volunteers — undaunted by the sleet and freezing temperatures of early February — appeared at the gates and offered to assist in the search, recalled Bill Plunkett, a retired Houston police officer who manages the Expo Center.

"In this part of East Texas, that's just common. It's so gratifying to know that people will come out in force, knowing there's no compensation, that their names are not going to be written on billboards, and that when they leave from here no one will know what they did except for themselves," said Plunkett. "They do it because there's a purpose for it, and the purpose is to help someone else."

And at 5 a.m. each morning in the aftermath, just before the search crews set off to scour through dense pine forests and brush booby-trapped with thorns thick enough to slice through clothing, the workers offered up a soft prayer and named the seven astronauts lost in the explosion:

Commander Rick Husband. Michael Anderson. David Brown. Kalpana Chawla. Laurel Clark. William McCool. Ilan Ramon.

"I'll never forget about it, and the people who volunteered never will. It was part of something you gave of yourself to help someone else you never knew," Plunkett said. "Being 50 years old, I grew up with NASA as it grew, seeing the first man go into space, seeing the first man walk on the moon. You feel connected to that, and when something like that happens, you can't think of anything but how can I help."


Hamilton, John William

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Published in The Daily Sentinel on 1/20/2009
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Link to article about Nibble's mom

Ronnie Kimbrough's daughter.

Lauren Elizabeth Kimbrough & Scott Gary Tyler

  Mr. and Mrs. Ronald W. Kimbrough of Nacogdoches have announced the engagement and approaching marriage of their daughter, Lauren Elizabeth Kimbrough of Nacogdoches, to Scott Gary Tyler of Palestine, Texas, son of Mr. and Mrs. Gary Tyler of Folsom, Calif. The ceremony is planned for 5 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 27, 2008, in Millard's Crossing Chapel, Nacogdoches.

Published in The Daily Sentinel on 11/16/2008.
Clem Russell's brother's son--he sure looks like his dad!

Leah Kathleen Starr & Jason Steve Russell

  Bradley and Glenda Starr have announced the engagement and approaching marriage of their daughter, Leah Kathleen Starr, to Jason Steve Russell, son of Frances Russell and the late Steve Russell. The ceremony is planned for 2 p.m. Jan. 3, 2009, at First Baptist Church, Nacogdoches.

Published in The Daily Sentinel
Red hair becoming extinct??  Sent to Jan Dobbs Barton by Merry Ann Bright


Main article: Red hair

Red hair ranges from vivid strawberry shades to deep auburn and burgundy, and is the rarest fully distinct hair color on earth. It is caused by a variation in the Mc1r gene and believed to be recessive.[2] Red hair has the highest amounts of phaeomelanin and usually low levels of eumelanin.[citation needed]

Changes in the MC1R gene that lead to red hair will always be present at a low level in the collective DNA of humanity.

Every now and then a story pops up that redheads are an endangered species. For example, in February 2007 there was a flurry of reports that red hair would be extinct by 2100 based on a statement from the Oxford Hair Foundation. This is nonsense.

Redheads are probably here to stay. They will almost certainly become less common over time, but there will always be a few of them around.

To understand why this is, we need to delve a little into how red hair works at the genetic level. Remember, we have two copies of most of our genes—one from mom and one from dad. For people of European descent, red hair happens when both copies of someone’s MC1R gene doesn’t work properly (this is called a recessive trait).

How to become a redhead?

So to end up a redhead, you need to get a non-working copy of the MC1R gene from both mom and dad. However, most people in the world have two good copies of the MC1R gene and so cannot have red haired kids (although they can have red haired grandkids). The only reason we have as many redheads as we do is because until recently, there was very little mingling of ethnic groups. In other words, people with red hair genes tended to have kids with other people with red hair genes. This is no longer true and is a big reason why so few redheads will be around in the future.

To get a feel for how this intermingling will affect red hair in the human population, let’s imagine that the population of Scotland was uprooted and dispersed throughout China. Scotland has a population of around 5 million and of these, 13% are redheads and 40% have one copy of the MC1R gene that doesn’t work (these folks are said to be carriers for red hair). This means that of the 10 million copies of the MC1R gene that are in Scotland, around 3.3 million don’t work. In our mythical country of Scotland-China, these genes would still be present—just severely diluted. In other words, there would be 3.3 million broken copies of the MC1R gene and 2 billion or so working copies.

Red Hair Odds in the Future

The chances of two red hair carriers having children together would fall from 1 in 2 in Scotland to 1 in 400 in Scotland-China. Which means the percentage of redheads would go from 1 in 8 in Scotland to something like 1 in 640,000 (or 1500 out of 1 billion) in Scotland-China. Rare, but not extinct.

So having red hair will become less and less common over time. And it isn't the only trait doomed to a steep decline. For example, the genetics of blue eyes works very similarly and is really only common in Western Europe. Blue eyes are destined to go the way of red hair too.

The copyright of the article Genetics of Red Hair & Redheads in Genetic Theory is owned by Barry Starr. Permission to republish Genetics of Red Hair & Redheads in print or online must be granted by the author in writing.


Many people – especially journalists – email me or telephone me to ask about the genetics of red hair.   What is it due to?   What are the genetics underlying red hair ?   The following is meant as a summary.   Inevitably I have simplified and shortened certain aspects so some might disapprove of some of the short cuts I have used but, in essence, I think the following is pretty fair.

Skin and hair pigment is made up of different types of melanin.   There are two broad groups of melanin: eumelanin , which is brown, and phaeomelanin , which is red.   Somebody with dark hair will have predominantly eumelanin .   Somebody with very bright red hair will have little eumelanin but lots of phaeomelanin .   People with auburn hair will have some of both.  

Skin and hair colour often go together, but not always.   For instance, people with red hair are usually fairly pale skinned, they don't tend to tan, they burn in the sun and are more likely to have freckles.   There are exceptions however to this rule.   Some people, with apparently jet black hair, also have very pale skin and freckle.   We don't understand the latter group very well.  

Several years ago, I and colleagues, discovered that the melanocortin 1 receptor, a protein encoded by a gene previously discovered in mice, was responsible for the production of red hair in humans.   Everybody has two copies of this gene but there are slight changes in the gene that are very common in European populations.   If you have one of about four or five common changes in this gene and, one of these changes are found on both of your chromosomes, then you are likely to have red hair.   A little bit of basic genetics: you have two copies of every gene, you inherit one from your mother and one from your father.   If both of these genes are different, with respect to the changes that might lead to red hair, then you will have red hair.   If however you only have one change, you have an increased chance of having red hair but, the chances are that you won't have red hair, although you will tend to be more sun sensitive than the average person.

Such a type of inheritance is close to what geneticists describe as an autosomal recessive mode of inheritance.   This means, in practice, that both your parents may not have red hair, but both could be carriers for the gene for red hair.   If this was the case, perhaps one in four of children might have red hair.   If one of the parents has bright red hair, and therefore carries two of the changes (one on each of their chromosomes), and the other parent is a carrier, then perhaps 50% of the children might have red hair.   It is this aspect of the inheritance of red hair that tends to lead to the various permutations of the milkman joke.

There are different sorts of red hair.   Some people seem to have what we call “strawberry blonde”, some bright red and some auburn.   As far as we know, the genetics underlying these differences are fairly similar, in that changes in the gene referred to above, seem to be important for all sorts of red hair.   However, if you have bright red hair it seems you are much more likely to carry two different copies of the gene than if you are a strawberry blonde.   We are, however, not completely certain about some of the details in this particular aspect of the work.  

There are some other puzzles about red hair.   Some men might have red beards but dark coloured hair.   This is not entirely surprising as in many mammals the front of the body is a slightly different colour to the back.   In some animals, the molecular basis of this is clearly understood, as in these animals, they produce a different protein that seems to have the opposite effects to the red hair gene mentioned above.   In man, we don't think this is the case, but we also observed that people who do have red beards are more likely to carry at least one different copy of the red hair gene.  

Another puzzle is why hair colour changes so much during life.   Most people are aware that hair colour tends to be lighter at birth and gets darker, particularly during adolescence and puberty.   Apart from saying that the cells that produce melanin become more active at this period we don't understand why this is.   Similarly, of course, we don't really understand greying and lightening of the hair in old age.   People with red hair often have different coloured hair at different times of their life.   It seems that it is more likely to be red in childhood or in early adult life, than in later life.

One medical importance of red hair is that individuals with red hair are, on average, more likely to burn in the sun and they are at an increased risk of skin cancer.   The sensible advice seems to remain that since it is painful and uncomfortable to burn repeatedly in the sun, it is sensible to alter your behaviour such that you don't suffer the discomfort!   On the other hand the risks of skin cancer should also be put in context.   For instance if you have red hair, the medical risks don't compare with the far greater and much more serious risks from smoking and drinking large amounts of alcohol or being very grossly overweight.  

We don't know with certainty when the first “red heads” walked the earth but, based on our own research, our guess is around twenty thousand years ago.   In evolutionary terms, this is relatively recent, and although we can't be certain, the explanations for the development of red hair generally fall into two groups.   The first, is that there may have been some advantage to having red hair and pale skin.   One reason for this is that you make vitamin D in your skin, and therefore you are less likely to get rickets (vitamin D protects you against rickets) if you have pale skin and there is not much sunlight around.   An alternative explanation, which some of our own work supports, is that it may have just been due to chance in that, to state it simply, nature may have been fairly indifferent to hair colour in areas of the earth without high sunshine.   Diversity may rule!

If you want to understand more about the science and genetics of red hair, the following references might help. I am afraid I can't supply them directly, although you can read their abstracts on the PubMed site. Some PDF's are provided below.

Rees ,J.L . (2000). The melanocortin 1 receptor (MC1R): more than just red hair. Pigment Cell Res. 13 , 135-140.

Ha, T and Rees, J. L. (2001) The melanocortin 1 receptor: what's red got to do with it? Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology .. 45; 961-964



Actress has silver screen dreams

Peppard appears in several popular films


The Daily Sentinel

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Katy Peppard's voice filled a downtown Shreveport restaurant last July, as she and several other crew members of "W" celebrated the movie's last days of filming.

Convinced by a colleague to provide a small sampling of her vocal talent, the Nacogdoches native sang Mack Gordan and Harry Warren's "At Last," capturing the attention of "W" director, Oliver Stone.

As her voice carried the lyrics of the 1941 hit, Stone made his way to the restaurant's piano where Peppard had been introduced, sat down next to the pianist, closed his eyes and listened.

"It was one of the most thrilling experiences of my life so far," Peppard said.

She said after she sang "At Last," Stone requested her to do an encore performance.

"I asked what he would like to hear, and he told me 'As Time Goes By,'" Peppard said. "So, on the spur of a moment, the piano player started playing it, and without ever having practiced it ... we got through the song. (It was) a great experience that I will never forget."

Peppard worked with the three-time-Academy-Award winner as a casting assistant on the film. She said her job entailed casting local actors during pre production and extras throughout the length of the film. She described working with Stone as a dream come true.

"I never imagined I would get to. Growing up, I was always a fan of "Platoon" ... and I always dreamed of working with him, and being a soldier in one of his movies."

Despite her primary role as a casting assistant, Peppard was provided that opportunity.

"Towards the end of the movie I was able to be an extra on one of the days I didn't have to work in the (casting) office," she said. "I got to be a soldier at Walter Reed Medical (Center) in one of the scenes, and I left there that day going 'Wait. I was just a soldier for Oliver Stone.'"

While she enjoys the production side of films, Peppard said acting is truly where her heart is.

"I find my joy in being in character, and actually being a part of a story," she said.

Peppard started acting in a Shakespeare acting group while in high school.

"I didn't want to do Shakespeare at first, but I took the class, and absolutely fell in love with it," she said. "I knew then what I wanted to do."

Peppard spent two semesters as a theater major at SFA before moving to Dallas to attend the Kim Dawson Actor Conservatory.

Following the 15-month program, Peppard moved to L.A. and worked as extras in several films including, "Blades of Glory" and "Superbad."

"It was hilarious (during Superbad) because I had no idea what the movie was about going into it," she said. "I was just like, 'Well, this should be fun.'"

Peppard said when filming wrapped, she came back to Nacogdoches for the holidays, and had plans to go back to L.A., but then started hearing about the film activity in Shreveport, La.

"I was like, 'Well, I'm going to give that a try,' and I started to go to (film commission) meetings," she said. "The meetings were just to learn about what's going on in the (film) community, and I kept going, meeting people and then I eventually worked on getting a talent agent."

It wasn't long before Peppard found a position at a casting agency, and began to cast for well-known films such as Fred Durst's "The Long Shot" and "The Year One," which stars Jack Black, which later led to her casting role in "W."

"Right now, I'm just kind of taking a break. I've gotten to audition for a few films, and I'm probably going to start back up in January casting or hopefully getting into more speaking roles."


Wednesday, May 20, 2009

As I think back on my years at Nacogdoches High School, it doesn't seem possible that 40 more have passed since my graduation in 1968. It was a golden time filled with special events and special people. Each who was there will remember it differently, but this is what I recall.

The football team was a powerhouse and ranked in the Top 10 in preseason polls. By Game 6 we had moved up to No. 1 in Class 3A polls. Nacogdoches was beat by Palestine 29-28 late in the season, which kept us out of the playoffs. Everybody didn't get a trophy back then, just for showing up — you had to win, and only one team advanced. We beat Lufkin 28-0. The team was led by coaches Gene Hale, L.H. Mathews, Joe Harris, Phil Prince, Jerry Nichols and Don Barber. Three on the team were named all East Texas — Bill Stewart, Mike Adams, and Bobby Davis. Davis went on to star at TCU as a running back. They and four others were named to the all-district team – Joe Precella, Vincent Luna, Tommy Hamilton and Glenn Cooper. Cooper was later a junior college all-American shortstop at Panola Junior College. Another star and leader on the team was quarterback Bill Pollock. Bill went on to be a star quarterback at Dartmouth University. Mike Aston was a great high school pitcher. He had a good fast ball, great curve and change-up and pinpoint control. He had an 8-0 record with a .81 ERA as a senior. Mike went on to play college baseball and later became NHS head baseball coach. He is now a principal at a large middle school near Houston. This is shocking to those of us who knew him in 1968.

David Yates, NHS Class of 1968


The last day of two-a-day workouts in preseason, I injured my neck and was out for the season. Not a great loss for the team and not the personal catastrophe I first thought. After school, my buddy, Ronnie Raines, and I would drive to the Burger Chef (present day Schlotzsky's) for a Coke in my old '57 Chevy and leisurely make our rounds to visit the twirlers, the drill team and the cheerleaders. Life was good.

About those cheerleaders. Today's cheerleaders have moves we had not discovered in 1968. Our girls had no such moves, or if they did, we didn't know anything about it. Their cheers were clean, crisp, to-the-point routines. I want to thank the cheerleaders of '68 for keeping it clean, and I can assure you, my buddies and I responded by harboring no unclean thoughts.

Did you ever wonder how and when the NHS drill team got started? I don't remember all the details, but Peggy Wright Pollock ('68) was instrumental in its inception. All the girls wore these little black outfits. Peggy got to wear a white outfit and stand in the middle. Her legacy lives on.

Regarding Miss Olive. You don't remember that name? That was before she was Nancy Prince. I was in her in her first class at NHS. I thought it was economics, but she assures me it was English. She was fun, vivacious, a great teach and pretty. We all fell in love with her — girls and boys, alike — the coolest teacher and one of the best we ever had. I understand that over the past 40 years many others felt the same way about her. I guess we finally wore her out because she retired. NHS was really lucky to have her all those years.

On Phil Prince, I always felt strange calling him "Phil" in more recent years. He will forever be Coach Prince to me. He was the head baseball coach — a great coach and really knew the game. He took baseball really seriously, and we knew we better take it seriously, too. He got the best out of his players, and we all had a lot of respect for him, on and off the field. Phil and I stayed in touch over the years and had lunch together every month or so the last two years of his life. We talked about old times, real estate and Texas Ranger baseball. We were both big Rangers fans and were sure we could solve all their problems. He had a great sense of humor and a great laugh. I miss him a lot.

I learned and retained more from my biology teacher, Mrs. Dawn Burgess, than any teacher I ever had. I can still name most of the bones of the body, describe the circulatory system and explain plant photosynthesis. An excellent and demanding teacher.

"Oklahoma," the musical, was a high point for many of us in our senior year. Directed by Preston Waldrop and assisted by Jodie Worsham, it launched leading man, Ronnie Raines (later known as "Ron") on his path to Broadway. The leads were "Ron," Debbie Dodson Haas, Bill Stewart, Kathie Fulmer Lamar, Jeff Hale, Gray Gregson, Kathy Baker McGough, Gary Elliott and Judy Watson Graves. I can still remember my one line, "What are ya doin' now, Will." I sometimes say it in my sleep. Objectively minded people tell me this was an exceptional high school production. Great voices and great direction by Waldrop and Worsham. As for "Ron," we all knew he was going to be a star. If they gave A's for talent, he would have been our valedictorian. He was also a "crazy nut," and anyone who knew him will tell you that — friends, family, teachers, employers. He was elected "Wittiest" in '68, and I've seen him do things I can't talk about here. Ron has had a great career performing on the Broadway stage, in the country's leading regional theaters and symphony halls and on TV. Many of his classmates have followed his career and attended numerous performances and feel immense pride in his success. He is without doubt one of NHS' most accomplished alumni.

On weekends, the Youth Center was a happening place. We had our own rock bands (we called them "combos"). The "Stix and Stones" were made up of Bill Stewart (drums), Ben Covin (bass), Jeff Hale (rhythm guitar), Dicky Johnson (lead guitar), Bill Pollock (organ) and sometimes "Ron" (vocals). They played a lot of Beatles, Dave Clark Five, Kinks, The Monkees and always the song "G-L-O-R-I-A." Another great band was "The Guv-nors" made up of some renegades from the Class of '67 (Homer Tindall, Jimmy Daniels, Fred Bright and David Lambert). Bright and Daniels still play the occasional club or honky tonk. Soul music was hot with artists like Wilson Picket, Otis Redding, Archie Bell and the Drells from Houston. We danced the Funky Broadway and the Tighten Up. I tried to show somebody the Tighten Up a few weeks ago and hurt something, but I'm feeling much better now.

Well, it's finally May '68, and we were graduating. The world was about to change for all of us. After all, it was the dawning of the Age of Aquarius – peace, love and harmony abounding. Our sleepy little idyllic world would shortly give way to a more open, exciting, dangerous and confusing time. We could hardly wait. What a great time to be young and alive — 1968.

I am glad to be a member of the Nacogdoches High School Alumni Association and support their scholarship program for the deserving students of NHS. This year the NHSAA gave 65, $1,000 scholarships at the awards assembly bringing the total to well over $400,000 in scholarship money given to NHS graduates since 1995. Please join us in this worthwhile cause. Our e-mail address is