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Hawg riders helping out homeless animals PDF Print E-mail
Written by Jonathan Lance   
Friday, 03 July 2015 13:20

Summer is the best time to jump on a motorcycle and just ride, especially for a great cause. Muddy Jake’s Sports Grille and Pub will be sponsoring a motorcycle benefit ride, poker run and concert for the Hearts of Life Animal Rescue. The benefit is rightly called “Hawgz 4 Dawgz.“

“When people think of bikers, they think we are really gruff, but not all of us are like that. We love to give back to our community,” said Hawgz 4 Dawgz founder and event coordinator Lisa Ray.  

Three years ago, Ray and her husband regularly volunteered for different motorcycle benefits as a way to give back to Hopkins County. They eventually decided to set up their own benefit. 

“A friend of mine has a no-kill animal shelter on the north end of town. I found out he was low on funds to buy enough dog food for all the animals. I thought Hawgz 4 Dawgz would be a great way to raise money for his shelter,”  said Ray. “We have been doing it ever since.”

Hearts of Life Animal Rescue began with only a few pens more than six years ago. Currently, the non-profit organization is responsible for more than 400 adoptions and houses more than 50 animals at a time. 

Registration for Hawgz 4 Dawgz will begin at 8:30 a.m. Saturday at Muddy Jake’s. The ride will begin at 10:30 a.m. 

“Debra ‘Bo’ Bohannon will begin our event by playing the national anthem and holding a prayer. Then, the bikes will head out and make will head out and make five different stops and pick up poker chips for our poker run. We will be playing with dominoes this year,” said Ray. “There will prizes for the best high and low-hands. During the run, we will also be having three judges hold a best bike contest.”

At 5 p.m,. live music will kick off with Birthright Blues Project headlining the event, followed by Tyler Lenius. A silent auction will also be held. 

“We just want to help our community,” said Ray. “We are thankful for the Hopkins County Sheriff’s Office and for Muddy Jakes’ for helping us with this event.”   

For more information about Hawgz 4 Dawgz, contact Hearts of Life Animal Rescue at 903-438-8000. 

 
No paper on Monday PDF Print E-mail
Written by Jonathan Lance   
Friday, 03 July 2015 13:03

There will not be a newspaper published on Monday, July 6, as the News-Telegram staff takes that day in observance of  Independence Day.

The Echo Publishing Co. office will also be closed on Monday.

Normal newspaper production will resume on Tuesday, July 7, and Echo offices will reopen at 8 a.m. Tuesday.

 
Constitutional Right: Gay Marriage PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Jonathan Lance   
Friday, 03 July 2015 12:42

As thousands proudly wave rainbow colored flags across America, one gay couple in Sulphur Springs has received their marriage license. After being a couple for 28 years and adopting 2 children, one Sulphur Springs family is happy they are finally going to tie the knot.

“We are just a normal everyday family,” said husband Donny Foster. “I was born and raised in Hopkins County. It has always been our home.”

Their story began decades ago in Hopkins County when Foster and Joe Autrey were in their 20s.

“We met 28 years ago at a party on July 4. Over time, our relationship progressed and we knew that we needed to be together,” said Foster. “Actually, when we first met, he said he didn’t even like me. I think he thought I was a bit of a jerk. I guess I grow on people. Now, we, purchased a house together.”

Their dream of being recognized by the United States as a legally married couple has now come true. Just wanting to be like everyone else, the Supreme Court decision has not only positively affected them spiritually but financially as well. 

Foster, 52, owns a no-kill shelter called Hearts of Life Animal Rescue while Autrey  works at a local pet store.

Tragedy struck the family when Foster had a pulmonary embolism last January. Severely weakened by the medical emergency, Foster has been adapting to receiving supplemental oxygen 24 hours a day and being unable to perform physical activity.

“That is one of the many reasons we are so happy to be married. I cannot work anymore and do not make enough money to pay for [health care],” said Foster. “We pay taxes like everyone else. It seems like we were being discriminated against because my job would allow partner benefits, but we couldn’t be married.”

He continued to say that if the worst happened, his loved ones would be in a financial crisis. Most importantly, Foster and Autrey  have to provide for the their two children. 

Eight years ago, they made the decision to became foster parents. After more than 40 children had gone through their home, they decided to adopt J.P. and Shannon. 

With that in mind, they are both relieved that Social Security benefits will transfer if something happens to either one of them.

Foster said that he and his family have been subject to discrimination in Hopkins County, but it has been on a limited basis. He said friends they have had for years are now offended that they have decided to be married.

“I am disappointed in how some people are posting really hateful messages on Facebook,” said Foster. “I try not to impose, but I have upset some people and lost some friends. I have been the same person all these years. If I am excited about something that affects my family, why am I supposed to be quiet and ashamed of it? It is truly beyond me.”

Refusing to be discouraged by discrimination, Foster and Autrey are focusing on their wedding day and making sure their kids learn to accept others for who they are.

“Our plan is to have a reception, after we pay for all the expenses,” said Foster. “We have already had a few people tell us they cannot attend because they do not believe in it.”

Although not all the RSVPs have been returned, Foster believes several hundred people will be showing up for their wedding reception.

“Joe and I are in this for the long hall and are committed. We are going be like my grandparents and be together forever,” said Foster. “We are raising our kids to be agreeable with people and not teach hate. It’s sad that some people look for all the bad things in people and can’t be happy for  others.”

 
Plaque unveiled to honor rodeo promoter, horseman and lasso specialist Mike Pribble PDF Print E-mail
Written by Jonathan Lance   
Wednesday, 01 July 2015 14:29

Rodeo extraordinaire Mike Pribble was posthumously honored at noon Wednesday with a plaque at the Hopkins County Regional Civic Center’s Equine Pavilion. The community gathered as Pribble’s daughter and granddaughter, Cathey Williams and Meredith Caddell, spoke at the event alongside their extended family. 

“Our family is so elated. There are no words to describe how much everyone has done. I can’t believe it’s actually going to happen,” said Williams before the dedication. “I don’t think I have ever been a part of something so exciting and as moving as this process has been to memorialize daddy.” 

More than 50 people attended the Pribble plaque unveiling. Hopkins County Regional Civic Center Manager Adam Teer opened the event by inviting Williams and Caddell to the front of the pavilion to speak. 

Williams invited her family to the stage along with KSST radio host Enola Gay Mathews, Billy Wayne and Charles Helm.

“Enola Gay was the one who had the vision in 1990,” said Williams. “She knew that something had to be done and founded a chili cookout and worked so hard. She ended up going to the city, Civic Center and everyone she could trying to get something done for my daddy.”

Williams said Mathews talked to Helm, who is on the Civic Center board, and they began to work together to raise money and find a way to have the plaque displayed in the pavilion. 

“I remember when Charles Helm came to the Chamber of Commerce one day and said, ‘Something has to be done for your dad,’” Williams said. “He went before the county commissioners and got it approved.”

Williams’ speech ended by talking briefly about her father and how he brought the first rodeo to Sulphur Springs. She said that although he came originally from Fort Worth, his hometown became Sulphur Springs. 

She continued to say that Pribble began his career in Sulphur Springs at a young age. He purchased a horse at age nine and began practicing every day to become the best rider and roper he could be. 

“Back in the 1930s, everything in Sulphur Springs happened in city park. Daddy wanted to hold a rodeo and got permission from the city. He held the event in the football stadium for the first two years,” said Williams. 

One of Pribble’s signature tricks would be to stand on his head while roping eight galloping horses. He also would perform a Texas skip for 200 yards up and down the arena, vaulting stunts off the back and side of his horse, suicide drags and many different standing tricks. Eventually, he was recruited by Will Rogers for Western movies.

In 1938, Pribble built a large arena in Buford Park. Pribble soon became a public figure by performing tricks and fancy roping displays during his rodeos. For more than four decades he held a huge rodeo on Independence Day weekend, attracting 20,000 fans annually.

Pribble became a rodeo producer and director and local goodwill ambassador from 1911 to 1972.  By 1954, Pribble upgraded his facility to be Texas' largest and finest all-steel, 6,000-seat arena.

The plaque unveiling ended with refreshments and dozens of photos temporarily displayed to commemorate Mike Pribble’s life.  

 
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.

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Prayer vigil held on square promotes unity PDF Print E-mail
Written by Jonathan Lance   
Friday, 03 July 2015 12:58

More than 100 people turned out for an evening of spiritual contemplation and humility during a community wide devotion and vigil. The event focused on praying for America in light recent tragedies, like the shooting in Southern Carolina, and by publicly proclaiming the message of God.

Minister Valanderous Bell hosted the prayer evening which included Sulphur Springs Mayor Kayla Price, Sulphur Springs Independent School District Superintendent Mike Lamb, Eighth Judicial District Judge Eddie Northcutt and Sulphur Springs City Manager Marc Maxwell. 

“I feel like the more our community has events like this, where we get to know one another and pray together, when hard times come, we will know we can count on each other,” said Price. “This is a real blessing for our community.”

Price’s speech focused on hope. She said that through education, teachers and parents should inspire children not to hate but accept each other. The power of religion was also discussed during the speech.

“Parents, no matter how old your children are, take them to church with you. Make sure your children are surrounded by other Christians,” said Price. “Our faith in God gives us the hope to persevere and overcome all of life’s challenges.”

Lamb followed Price to stage. His speech urged the Hopkins County community to humble themselves before God.

“I don’t know if there are any non-believers listening right now, but I would encourage you to find out what this Jesus is all about, ask questions,” said Lamb. “No matter how bad things are, there is hope in Him. He is the only way out of the troubles we are in as a nation.”

Lamb ended his speech by asking everyone to join hands in the audience. All the attendents in the square joined hands in large circle. Lamb asked everyone to bow their heads and pray. The prayer was followed by song.

“American society has taken God out of everything, but until we individually ask God to come into our hearts, nothing is going to change. There are some problems that we, as a people, will never be able to get rid without God,” said Bell

The evening ended as everyone, still joining hands, sang “Amazing Grace.” Lamb stated, no matter the race or background, everyone needed to join together and unite as a community. 

The main  Bible verse used throughout the evening was 2 Chronicles 7:14. Bell read the verse during the evening.

  “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land,” repeated Bell. “Honestly, as a community we are not praying enough and it is creating divides in our culture.”

“This devotional is not about race, or any other difference, it’s about people,” said Bell. “We need to see each individual as a creation of God, look into our own hearts.”

 
Arrests made in theft, burglary cases PDF Print E-mail
Written by From Staff Reports   
Wednesday, 01 July 2015 15:14

Sheriff’s officers Tuesday cleared three burglaries, took two into custody in relation to the cases, recovered two trucks

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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.

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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.

 
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