2015 Outdoor Kids Camp at Cooper Lake Sp/South Sulphur Unit PDF Print E-mail
Written by By Jim Beach, Park Peace Officer/Interpretive Guide   
Tuesday, 30 June 2015 13:29

Texas Parks and Wildlife has promoted the theme of “Life Is Better Outside!” And how true that theme is! Studies show that a person who spends time outside is usually healthier, does better in school, and it affects people cognitively and behaviorally.

D.A.R.E. Music and Comedy Review tickets on sale for July 24 event PDF Print E-mail
Written by By FAITH HUFMAN, News-Telegram news staff, faith@ssecho.comy   
Tuesday, 30 June 2015 13:27

Deadline extended for chances for new vehicle

Hopkins County D.A.R.E. officer and friends are gearing up for the Third Annual Hopkins County Music and Comedy Review on July 24; the deadline to obtain raffle tickets for chances to win a 2015 Chrysler 200 has also been extended.

Murder suspect captured in Arkansas PDF Print E-mail
Written by Kerry Craig   
Tuesday, 30 June 2015 12:53

Three weeks to the day from the June 8 murder of Jonathan Young in Pacific Park, suspect Tilton Joshua Isaiah Mapps, 20, of Greenville was apprehended in Fort Smith, Ark.

Shortly after the murder, Sulphur Springs Police Det. David Gilmore contacted Texas Ranger John Vance who, in turn, sought assistance from the U.S. Marshal's Service in locating the murder suspect.

“They were very instrumental, the Marshal's Service out of Sherman, in Mapps being arrested in Fort Smith, Ark.,” Gilmore said. “It was like we had trained together and we had never met. It just came together.”

Gilmore gave credit to federal officers in locating the wanted man.

“It wasn't a lead that led us to him, it was the Marshal's Service doing their diligence on surveillance,” he said. “They called Ranger Vance and me yesterday morning and said, ‘We think we know where he might be here in Fort Smith.’”

Both Vance and Gilmore immediately left for Fort Smith, where they met briefly with U.S. Marshals there as well as Fort Smith detectives. They orchestrated a “gauntlet” around the small apartment complex the suspect was thought to be in and made the arrest about 1:45 p.m.

“[Mapps] had some help,” Gilmore said. “They actually had a decoy car pull up into the complex after they spotted what they figured were police and had a person go out and get into a car and take off. They probably wanted all of us to follow them — a few did and found out he was not in that car.

“Then a second car pulls up, [Mapps] exits the apartment, gets in the back seat, lays down and actually pulls a pink swimming floatie on top of him to hide,” Gilmore continued. “He got about a half block down the road and the Marshal's Service and detectives with Fort Smith police, Ranger Vance and I converged. Through tattoos we were able to identify him and, of course, he admitted as to who he was.”

Gilmore said Mapps did not offer resistance when he was apprehended.

Mapps' girlfriend, Tressa Makin, who was named in warrants for hindering apprehension, was also taken into custody and both were taken to the Fort Smith jail.

“We interview Mapps and he confessed to the shooting of Jonathan Young in Pacific Park back on June 8,” the detective said. “We also interviewed Tressa Makin and she provided some additional information.”

Although Mapps confessed to the murder and is in custody, Gilmore said the murder investigation is still underway.

“The nuisance of him still being out on the street was, not only were we trying to work the homicide — and there were several agencies helping us do that — we had the added burden of he's still on the street,” the detective explained. “A lot of times on a homicide, we get people in custody fairly quickly. He was gone from Sulphur Springs, we think, 10 minutes after the murder.”

Mapps, Gilmore suspects, may have been in Fort Smith for some time.

“Yesterday was three weeks, to the day, from the homicide and that's a significant amount of time to be out on the run,” he said. “He had help from people. We've made one arrest and we will be looking at some other people to get additional warrants on. We are also looking at possibly talking with the U.S. Attorney in Arkansas about additional charges on Mapps for crossing state lines to avoid prosecution.”

Both Mapps and Makins are being held in Arkansas pending possible extradition proceedings before being returned to Hopkins County.

Bids for Civic Center Auditorium top $4 million; SSISD, county extend lease agreement PDF Print E-mail
Written by By FAITH HUFMAN, News-Telegram news staff, faith@ssecho.comy   
Monday, 29 June 2015 14:11

School trustees Friday afternoon gave the go-ahead for contract bids, which will allow renovation of the Hopkins County Regional Civic Center Auditorium to really get under way starting Monday.

Murder suspect caught in Arkansas PDF Print E-mail
Written by Kerry Craig   
Monday, 29 June 2015 13:28

Murder caught

Sulphur Springs Police Chief Jay Sanders said that Tilton Joshua Isaiah Mapps was apprehended about 1:45 p.m. this afternoon in Hot Springs, Ark.
The chief said he did not know if the man offered any resistance when officers found at a Hot Springs residence.
Mapps, wanted in connection with the June 8 shooting death of Jonathan Young.
Sulphur Springs detectives as well as officers from a number of law enforcement agencies had been searching for Mapps in his hometown of Greenville as well as Hunt County and the Dallas area since shortly after the shooting occurred.
A complete story on the capture of Tilton Joshua Isaiah will be in Tuesday's News-Telegram

County officials out of the marriage business PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Jonathan Lance   
Tuesday, 30 June 2015 12:58

After a historic decision last week from the U.S. Supreme Court to legalize same-sex marriage, Hopkins County has begun dealing with repercussions of the decision and struggling with who will conduct a marriage ceremony after a licence has been issued.

In previous years, justices of the peace, county and city judges have conducted marriage ceremonies in Hopkins County. Currently, all county officials have declined to hold ceremonies going forward. In accordance with the Supreme Court decision, the Hopkins County Clerk’s Office will issue wedding licences for same-sex couples. 

“Right now, I do not know of any judges or clerks who are conducting marriage ceremonies,” said Hopkins County Judge Robert Newsom. “I am not going to be doing any more due to religious reasons.”

Government judges have the priviledge to conduct wedding ceremonies, but they are not legally obligated. To keep from discriminating against same-sex couples, Hopkins County officials are declining to perform any marriage rites.

“We want the public to know that conducting wedding ceremonies was never a part of our judicial responsibility. It has always been a privilege for the public. There are some judges who have never performed a wedding in their lives,” said Justice of the Peace Brad Cummings.  

“I am exercising my right not to do any marriages, period.” said JP B.J. Teer. 

On Sunday, Attorney General of Texas Ken Paxton agreed with Hopkins County officials after publishing an opinion on the very subject. Paxton said that personal religious freedom of local government officials is being affected by the Supreme Court decision.

“County clerks and their employees retain religious freedoms that may allow accommodation of their religious objections to issuing same-sex marriage licenses. The strength of any such claim depends on the particular facts of each case,” said Paxton. “Justices of the peace and judges similarly retain religious freedoms.”

With local officials declining to hold any marriage ceremonies, Hopkins County residents will have to reach out to local ordained ministers to conduct wedding ceremonies. For same-sex marriages, that could be a substantial problem. So far, the News-Telegram has not found any clergymen in the county who will perform a same-sex wedding.

The Southern Baptist Convention released a letter standing against same-sex marriage. 

“What the Bible says about marriage is clear, definitive and unchanging. We affirm Biblical, traditional, natural marriage as the uniting of one man and one woman in covenant commitment for a lifetime. The Scriptures’ teaching on marriage is not negotiable,” said Southern Baptist Convention President Pastor Ronnie Floyd. “Consequently, we will not accept, nor adhere to, any legal redefinition of marriage issued by any political or judicial body including the United States Supreme Court. We will not recognize same-sex ‘marriages,’ our churches will not host same-sex ceremonies, and we will not perform such ceremonies.”

The United Methodist Church released a similar letter to the Clergy of North Texas Conference. 

“Please remember that ceremonies that celebrate homosexual unions shall not be conducted by our ministers and shall not be conducted in our churches,” said Resident Bishop Michael McKee. 

“I would have to think long and hard about that decision. In the Bible, a marriage has always been between a man and a woman,” said First Presbyterian Church Paster Charles Moore. 

On Tuesday morning, the News-Telegram tried to reach out to more than a dozen churches in the area, but so far no denomination has verified that they are willing to host a same-sex marriage ceremony. For any same-sex couples looking to be married in Hopkins County, it might be easier to find a willing minister somewhere else.   

There had not been a request for a same-sex marriage license by 10 a.m. Tuesday, Newsom said, but  the County Clerk’s Office had received several calls.

Independence Day Celebration PDF Print E-mail
Written by Photo By Jon Lance   
Monday, 29 June 2015 14:44

Sulphur Springs Symphony League hosts the 24th Annual Independence Day festival and fireworks spectacular Saturday evening on Celebration Plaza. Dr. Douglas Bakenhus lead Northeast Texas Symphony Orchestra in an evening of patriotic music. See page 10 in Monday's News-Telegram for more photos from Saturday’s Independence Day Celebration.

SSISD offering online registration help July 3, 13 and 30 PDF Print E-mail
Written by From Staff Reports   
Monday, 29 June 2015 14:10

In its effort to cut down on the amount of paper used by the district and the number of forms parents are required to replicate each year, SSISD’s back-to-school registration will be conducted exclusively online for all students who attended classes at a Sulphur Springs campus in the previous school

Tomato Festival opens before concert, fireworks PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Jonathan Lance   
Saturday, 27 June 2015 10:36

After record-breaking spring rain, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension service is hosting the Hopkins County Tomato Festival at Sulphur Springs City Hall on Saturday evening before the 4th of July celebration.

“The whole reason for this festival is to promote gardening. It’s an afternoon to come out and enjoy everyone with like interests. Even if you do not have tomatoes to enter in the contest, the Master Gardeners will be there to answer your questions about anything related to gardening,” said Hopkins County Extension Agent Mario Villarino. “Saturday was the best time to hold the festival. For tomatoes, the flowering process stops after temperatures exceed 90 degrees.” 

The main portion of the Tomato Festival with be judging in two contests,  growing and recipe contest. The contests are further divided into classes and age categories. 

In the growing category, tomatoes will be divided into cherry, pear, large red and Goliath. Each participant has to bring three perfect tomatoes for the class they are entering. All three tomatoes will be inspected on similarities and quality. 

“Our new classification will be the Goliath category. We are going to weigh the tomatoes and the biggest entry will get the award. The Goliath tomato does not have to be perfect, but it does have to be a Big Boy tomato. I think this category will spice up the contest a little,” said Villarino. “This is the third year we are having the Tomato Festival and last year we had a dozen entries. I am hoping for more this year.”

The second part of the Tomato Festival is the recipe contest. Anyone can enter in the main dish, side dish or salsa classes. Tomatoes need to be the primary ingredient in each dish. There with also be age divisions: 12 years old and younger, 13 to 18 years, and 19 years and older.

“People can bring anything from salsa to something a little more complicated,” said Villarino. “Not everybody knows that tomatoes come in all sizes and colors. People are used to seeing the round red tomato in the grocery store but there are blue, yellow and black tomatoes.”  

Villarino specializes in growing his tomato crop in buckets. Earlier this year, he helped Sulphur Springs Elementary School construct a garden in which they used his bucket system. At the end of the semester, the students harvested their produce and held a salad day for lunch. 

“I am going to bring some of my tomato buckets because it is so cost effective and easy to learn how to do. The buckets can increase food production and save money when people go to the grocery store,” said Villarino.

The festival will begin at 6 p.m. Saturday in the City Hall courtyard. There is no charge to enter in the contest. 

For more information about the festival, call 903-885-3443.   

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