Lizbeth Mares, Yasmin Diosdado named top CPHS seniors PDF Print E-mail
Written by Jonathan Lance   
Saturday, 30 May 2015 13:57

Lizbeth Mares was named valedictorian and Yasmin Diosdado as salutatorian of Como-Pickton High School Senior Class of 2015 based on their cumulative grade point average from all four years of high school. The announcement was made during the Senior Night program held at the school earlier this week.

Mares is the daughter of Candido and Isabel Mares, and older sister of Jessica Erica and Karen Mares.

She has attended Como-Pickton Consolidated Independent School District since pre-kindergarten.

She has been involved in a number of school clubs, competitions and activities.

Mares was a member of the National Honor Society, serving as chapter president. She was also a member of the Spanish Club, serving as vice president, and Student Council.

Mares competed in One Act Play, robotics and placed first in district in science UIL. She was on the A Honor Roll all year, and was awarded Red Cord Honors by Carter BloodCare for donating blood twice this year.

She played clarinet in the school band, was also in the jazz band and choir.

“I’ve attended here since pre-k. I’m proud to call CP my school. It’s a blessing. Everyone here is so supportive,” Mares said.

She expressed special thanks to band/choir teacher Jeremy Wofford and science teacher  Stacie Yarbrough, who taught her to be a leader and encouraged her to put herself out there and not be shy.

Mares advises other students striving for success, “don’t sweat the small stuff, and it’s all small stuff in the end. Put yourself out there — it’s worth it.”

After graduating from CPHS with distinguished honors, she plans to complete her basics at Paris Junior College, then transfer to either Texas A&M-University or the University of North Texas, to study film and photography.

“When you take a picture you see the emotion. There are no words. You tell a story with the picture. I want to have pictures tell a story,” Mares said.

The CPHS valedictorian said she currently only posts her photos on Instagram and Facebook. She loves to play with filters. 

She also enjoys drawing, but said she mostly just dabbles in art and music.

To help her achieve her college goals, Mares was awarded a $1,800 Paris Junior College scholarship and is eligible for a valedictorian scholarship, which will cover the cost of tuition for her first year of college should she choose to attend a state school.

CPHS 2015 salutatorian Yasmin Diosdado is the daughter of Irma Diosdado. She is has one brother, Jose Juan Diosdado, and two sisters, Yesenia Diosdado and Giselle Vargas.

She too has attend CPCISD since pre-kindergarten. She was recognized for having the highest GPS in her class based solely on senior year grades only. She was also on the AB Honor Roll all year.

She took was active in school organizations and competed in sports other contests.

Diosdado was a member of the National Honor Society, Spanish Club (serving as president), and served as vice president of both the Family, Career and Community Leaders of America chapter and student council.

She played volleyball and wall named Academic All District. In cheerleading, Diosdado was named Academic All State.

The salutatorian also competed in and won first place with a painting she entered in the county youth art show.

She too was among 13 CPHS seniors to earn Red Cord Honors for donating blood at least twice this year.

Her advice to other students is to “give it all you have all the time and remember to have fund as your do it.”

Diosdado said her parents have been her biggest inspiration and support.

“My dad passed away in 2012. He was really a big part of my life. My mom has been motivating, pushing me hard all the time. She’s there to help me through anything,” she said.

After graduating from CPHS with distinguished honors, Diosdado plans to become a counselor, studying psychology at the University of North Texas. She plans to continue her education in order to earn a doctorate in psychology.

“I really like to help people,” she explained. “I’ve studied some of the stuff and like it. I give good advice, people come to me for advice.”

To help her achieve her college and career goals, Diosdado has been awarded a $20,000 Excellence Scholarship from the University of North Texas, as well as a number of other scholarships, including the  $250 Lorenzo and Faye D. Bryant Scholarship given by 2006 CPHS graduate Erica Bryant in memory of grandparents, who raised her and three other grandchildren. Bryant, who also attended CPCISD from pre-k through 12th grade, said thanks to her grandparents and CPCISD she has obtained her master’s degree in psychology and is currently pursuing a doctoral degree for counseling. She gives the award to help Diosdado, who she noted also knows the loss of a parent, and is pursuing a degree in psychology to prepare her for a career in counseling.

Diosdado also received one of two $1,000 INJAM (It’s Not Just About Me) Scholarships awarded to CPHS students, one of two $1,000 Myrtle L. Tanner Spanish club Pan American Forum Scholarships awarded to CPHS students this year, a $1,000 Rotary Club scholarship, a $1,500 Finnis and Onree Attlesey and Garland and Sweet Gamblin Scholarship and a $20,000 Excellence Scholarship for three years to the University of North Texas and a $13,000 Walmart Dependent Scholarship spaced over four years.

IndyCars are coming to Texas Motor Speedway in June PDF Print E-mail
Written by Jonathan Lance   
Saturday, 30 May 2015 13:51

Ladies and gentlemen, get ready to start your engines because the 19th Annual Verizon IndyCar Series: Firestone 600 is coming to Fort Worth on June 6. 

“Everyone who competed in the Indianpolis 500 will be coming again at Texas Motor Speedway. We are going to be running it at night and these cars are going to be traveling at 215 to 220 miles per hour on the track,” said Eddie Gossage, president of Texas Motor Speedway. “The great thing about it, the race looks so much faster at night. It is going to be an amazing thing to see. It will give you chills.” 

Johnny Rutherford, a retried race car driver and winner of three Indianapolis 500s, stressed that driving at night is much harder than during the day. He said the reason the event is so exciting is due to the cars moving so fast, action will be happening all over the course at the same time.   

“There is going to be so much to see at this race. The thing I like about Texas Motor Speedway is how the track is set up. There really is not a bad seat in the house and this race is going to be something special,” said Rutherford.?? 

One of the features of Texas Motor Speedway is Big Hoss. Big Hoss is the worlds largest high-definition video board that was unveiled in March 2014. 

"There's nothing like attending live sporting events. This means you don't miss a thing. We will  have replays of all the action," said Gossage in a previous interview. "To me, it's an ultimate fan amenity, and also to have the biggest one in the world." 

  The massive monitor is 218-feet wide and 95-feet high. 

“To be able to see a replay on that screen is truly spectacular,” said Gossage. “There are a ton of racing fans in East Texas and we want them to come out to Texas Motor Speedway to watch the Indy cars.”

For more information visit or call 817-215-8500. Ticket can be purchased over the phone or online at  

Two from SSHS named state academic UIL champions PDF Print E-mail
Written by Jonathan Lance   
Saturday, 30 May 2015 13:34

The Sulphur Springs High School UIL Academic Team ranked fifth out of 58 teams competing in the 5A State Meet Tuesday, May 28, at The University of Texas in Austin.

“Our trip to the state meet was very successful! We came home with two state championships — one for first place individual and the other for first place team in literary criticism! The spellers also brought home medals,” noted Gina Wilder, SSHS UIL coordinator. “Way to go Wildcats!”

In literary criticism, McKenzie Hohenberger placed first, Laura Graham placed second, and Patricia Parks placed seventh. MiKayla Jones completed the first place team.

“McKenzie and Laura tied for first place individually, so the tiebreaker essays for each were read. The literary criticism contest rules state that ties must be broken, but we really had two first place winners!” explained Wilder.

In spelling and vocabulary, Lydia Burleson tied for fourth place individually. She, Carson McIllwain, Jenna Ash and Jessye Castro won second place team. The group was the fourth seed team entering state competition. Gail Herman coaches both of these teams.

“Beth Grafton and Gail Herman sponsor the teams that competed at state. Gail sponsors ready writing, literary criticism, and spelling and vocabulary. Beth sponsors social studies and current events. These two amazing women know how to motivate their students and prepare them for competition. They spend countless hours working with their competitors as well as planning for their study sessions. These two ladies repeatedly carry students to the state meet. I cannot express how much I appreciate their dedication to both UIL and their students,” Wilder said.

Who is Christus Health? PDF Print E-mail
Written by Kerry Craig   
Friday, 29 May 2015 14:38

Headquartered in Dallas, Christus Health System has health care facilities in Arkansas, Georgia, Iowa, Louisiana and New Mexico as well as a number of facilities in Texas, eight in Mexico and two facilities in Chile.

A majority of Christus Health hospitals are in Northeast Texas, Louisiana and Arkansas with facilities in Texarkana and Atlanta.

Christus Health is an international Catholic, faith-based, not-for-profit health system comprised of almost 350 services and facilities, including more than 60 hospitals and long-term care facilities, 175 clinics and outpatient centers, as well as a number of other health services and ventures.

Jointly sponsored by the two religious congregations of the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word in Houston and San Antonio, the mission of Christus Health is to extend the healing ministry of Jesus Christ.

To support the Christus health care ministry, Christus employs approximately 30,000 people and has more than 9,000 physicians on medical staffs throughout our system. 

The dimension, strength and depth of service place Christus among the top 10 Catholic health systems in the United States.

Christus CEO Ernie Sadau said the Christus vision is to be a leader, a partner in the creation of innovative health and wellness solutions that improve to improve the lives of individuals and communities so that all may experience God's healing presence and love.

“Above all, we are committed to providing our customers and their family members with a truly unique healing experience, one that embodies our values and respects the dignity and worth of each person. Creating a health care system that is truly excellent in all areas is an ongoing effort.”

To learn more about Christus Health System, visit, online,;; and


SH 154 designated for fallen hero Sgt. Tanner Higgins PDF Print E-mail
Written by From Staff Reports   
Wednesday, 27 May 2015 17:08

While most were at home or observing Memorial Day with friends Monday, state officials were in session. One thing that the Texas Senate passed Monday on final reading was a bill designating the Sgt. Tanner Stone Higgins Memorial Highway.

Red Stone Music Festival comes to town PDF Print E-mail
Written by Jonathan Lance   
Saturday, 30 May 2015 13:37

It’s time to kick off summer with the Red Stone Music Festival on June 6. The boot stomping event will feature an all-star line up of Texas country singers, venders and activities on Sulphur Springs Celebration Plaza.

“This is the first time we are going to be putting on this music festival in connection with the city of Sulphur Springs. The city has been wonderful in helping us out and making sure this event happens,” said Kadi Hanes, East Texas Radio’s Texas Music Hour host. “The event will include four Texas music artists, and I think they are all A-listers and are doing great on the music scene right now.”

JB and the Moonshine Band, Curtis Grimes, Rich O’Toole and Sam Riggs will all be playing  throughout the evening. 

“Our first act will begin at 4 p.m. with Sam Riggs followed by Rich O’Toole.  Finishing off the evening, we will have two East Texas-born and-raised acts with Curtis Grimes and JB and the Moonshine Band,” said Hanes. “All of the artists have had a number one on the Texas music charts so they are all going to put on a great show.”

East Texas Radio is hosting the event, which includes stations Star Country 95.9, KPLT Classic Country 1490 AM and KOYN 93.9 FM. 

“All of our country stations are helping put this together,” said Hanes. “We have tickets on sale at any of our radio stations or at Advance tickets are $12 or, if purchased online, there is an additional $2.50 transaction fee. If you show up at the gate, they will be $17. One of the great things about this concert this year is we will be able to take credit cards at the gate.”

The festival will end around 10 p.m., although the venue is scheduled through midnight. 

“There will be venders at the event and I believe that Budweiser will be providing the alcohol,” said Hanes.

For more information, visit easttexas; to purchase tickets visit

$1.3M bond set on child sex assault charges PDF Print E-mail
Written by Kerry Craig   
Friday, 29 May 2015 14:39

After being informed of an outcry by a child who had been sexually assaulted and abused earlier this week, Hopkins County Sheriff’s investigators arrested Hunter Wayne Dixon, 20, on charges of aggravated sexual assault of a child and continuous sexual abuse of a child.

Chief Investigator Lewis Tatum said the assaults occurred started last December and the outcry led to the arrest.

“One of the victims made an outcry and, when they did, the sheriff’s office was contacted and we started an investigation,” Tatum said. “It was brought to our attention last Tuesday and he was arrested Thursday.”

Investigators said there were two victims, both under 10 years of age.

Investigator Dennis Findley said Dixon initially denied the accusations but, after being interviewed, gave officers a confession.

Dixon was arraigned Friday morning before Justice of the Peace Brad Cummings who set bond at $400,000 on the charge of aggravated sexual assault of a child and a bond of $900,000 on the charge of continuous sexual abuse of a child.

The 20-year-old Dixon is being held in Hopkins County jail in lieu of bond on the charges.

More than a Band-Aid Christus Health intends to take majority interest in HCMH PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Kerry Craig   
Friday, 29 May 2015 14:36

After almost a year and a half of searching, Hopkins County Memorial Hospital Board of Directors announced Friday a letter of intent in which Christus Health will become a partner in the ongoing management and operation of the hospital.

The letter of intent is the first step toward finalizing a partnership with Christus, which will take over a majority interest in the local hospital and clinic.

In a called meeting of the hospital board at noon Friday, board members unanimously agreed to move forward with a partnership agreement with Christus Health.

When finalized, possibly within the next 90 days, Christus Health will acquire the majority share [51 percent] of and will manage the hospital, clinic and related entities. The Hopkins County Hospital District will retain a minority [49 percent] ownership of the hospital.

Patients will see no change in procedures as the two entities work on the binding agreement. 

Tim Kelty, HCMH Board of Directors president, said the board has worked diligently to identify the best partner to continue and enhance the mission and vision of Memorial Hospital and Clinic.

“When we began the process of exploring potential partners, we established essential criteria including the partner's ability to strengthen the quality of care we provide, improve our financial viability and provide access to capital, collaborate with medical staff and employees, and preserve the local voice in our health care system. Christus meets and exceeds these criteria,” Kelty said. “The community will benefit in many ways from MH&C's partnership with Christus, and we are excited to learning more about the exciting opportunities and commitments that our partnership will bring to Sulphur Springs.”

Michael McAndrew, CEO of the Hopkins County Hospital District, said the pairing is a good fit for the community and the hospital.

“We are excited about the opportunity to partner with Christus Health,” McAndrew said. “After a substantial process to find the right partner that shares our commitment to our patients and community, we are confident Christus Health will enable us to continue and improve upon this commitment and further enhance our mission. Christus Health has a strong foundation and shared values which will strengthen the delivery of care locally while providing an established system that will prepare Hopkins County Memorial Hospital for future health care delivery models.”

Ernie Sadau, CEO of Christus Health, said the partnership will bring together two health systems focused on serving their communities.

“We believe that it will also ensure that Hopkins County Memorial Hospital District continues its mission of healing the people of Hopkins County,” Sadau said. “We are excited about welcoming the hospital and the community into the Christus family and expanding the reach of high quality, compassionate health care already provided here.” 

For the past several years HCMH has worked to recruit and bring new physicians to the community and both McAndrew and Sadau say the partnership with Christus will have the potential to bring more doctors to Sulphur Springs.

“We definitely will be committed to that,” Sadau said. “Because of the size of our organization and the stability together in this partnership and the stability we can bring to the hospital and the community from a heath care standpoint, as physicians come into the community, they want to be clear what that vision is for the organization,” he said. “I think that together we can do that. We obviously have a lot of our hospitals that have residency programs in them to where we are training physicians and they are looking for opportunities once they get out of residency. We are always trying to keep them somewhere in our network of hospitals, so I think there is an opportunity for that to improve.”

SSHS to guide parents through online registration, Parent Access portal May 28 PDF Print E-mail
Written by From Staff Reports   
Wednesday, 27 May 2015 17:07

Sulphur Springs Independent School District will be using online registration for the 2015-16 school year.

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