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Pallet tracks lead to arrest

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All the victim of a burglary had to do Wednesday afternoon was follow the tracks to where the burglar had taken his property. The stolen property, a brand new 350 Chevrolet engine, was still on the shipping pallet when the thief dragged it away, literally. “The 350-cubic inch Chevrolet motor had been dragged down the highway and down into the city of Como,” Hopkins County Chief Sheriff's Investigator Lewis Tatum said. “It isn't hard to track a pallet being drug.” Tatum said the first deputies to arrive at the scene immediately called him, but before he could arrive, the the victim had already followed the tracks to where the motor had been taken. After getting consent from the land owner to search a shop building, deputies recovered the stolen engine and learned how the motor had gotten there. Deputies were able to learn who had taken the motor and went to another location in Como and made an arrest. Walt Anthony Hux, 51, of Como was arrested on charges of burglary of a building. Bond for Hux was set at $10,000 on the felony offense.

Retail sales continue strong in Northeast Texas

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Retail sales, as reflected in the monthly sales tax report from the state comptrollers office, continues to grow albeit at a slower rate than the previous month in Hopkins County and its cities. For Hopkins County, the increase in sales tax receipts was up 0.54 percent for January sales. The county received $131,953 for the period, which brings the year-to-date sales tax receipts to $491,729, an increase of just more than 10 percent over the same period last year. In the city of Sulphur Springs, retail sales grew by only 3 percent in January. The city received $351,046.90 in sales tax revenues, which brings the total for this year to $1,298,000, up from the $1,218,388 at the same time in 2014, an increase for the year of 6.33 percent. Como took a big hit, a 38.24 percent drop in sales tax revenues, in January. Como received $2,719 in sales tax to bring the year-to-date total to $9,314. For the year, the city is down almost 15 percent when compared with the first month of 2014. Cumby also saw a decrease, 6.6 percent, as reflected in sales tax dollars. The city received $7,448 to bring the year's total to $27,904 for an overall increase of 3.25 percent over last year. In Hunt County, Greenville realized a 5.6 percent increase, while Commerce was down 18.5 percent in retail sales in the first month of the year. Comparing this year with last year, Greenville is 7 percent ahead of 2014 and Commerce follows closely with a 6.5 percent increase from the previous year. Cooper received $6,844 in sales taxes collected in January, up a single percentage point over last year. So far for 2015, Cooper has received $101,207 for a 1.37 increase over last year. Around Northrast Texas, Mount Vernon had a 9.5 percent over last year and, in year to date receipts, is up 6.2 percent over 2015. Mount Pleasant was up 5.56 percent in retail sales in January and 6.9 percent over last year. Based on sales tax revenues, Paris was the retail growth leader in the area with a 29.28 percent jump in January, which brings the year-to-date increase to 12.8 percent ahead of 2014. In Wood County, Winnsboro received $70,957 in sales tax revenue, an increase of almost 12 percent in January, bringing the yearly growth in retail sales to 16 percent. Yantis saw an increase of 5 percent in the sales tax revenue for January and a 1.19 percent increase over the previous year. Quitman, however, was down 15.6 percent in January sales and up less than one percent over last year. Retail sales, along with sales tax revenue, in Emory was up from January by 7.4 percent, while the year to date figures show a drop of almost 4 percent from the same time last year. The sales tax revenue is for sales in January and reported in February.

SSMS to equip 8 classrooms with tablets

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Approval was given Monday night for Sulphur Springs Independent School District to move forward with the first step in phase 2 of a three phase technology plan. Trustees approved spending of up to $156,246 to obtain 240 tablet devices for Sulphur Springs Middle School.

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SSISD Special Olympics season leading up to local meet

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Sulphur Springs Independent School District Special Olympics team kicked off the 2015 season with their first meet of the season Friday.

These special athletes compete against other Special Olympians for medals at various meets hosted by schools in the region.

The SSISD Special Olympians kicked off the season competing March 6, at the Rains County Special Olympics in Emory High School gym.

They are scheduled to compete again April 16 at Commerce, and some will attend the Area Special Olympics April 24-25, at Lovejoy High School in Lucas. The latter is a two-day competition in which students will stay with school sponsors in a hotel overnight.

And, SSISD will also be hosting a track and field Special Olympics Meet May 12 at Sulphur Springs High School track, coordinated by SSISD staff Jeana Penny. The event generally features up to 120 athletes from around the region, including Sulphur Springs.

Students generally receive shirts and a goody bag, along with lunch, thanks to donations from generous community sponsors at the SSISD meet. The Key Club also helps host this event. Students, parents and community members are invited to attend the event to cheer the students on.

Hannah Kirby again advances, this time on Pharrell’s team

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More than 11 million viewers turned on “The Voice” last night and saw Sulphur Springs singer Hannah Kirby during the national singing competition. Tuesday evening marked the battle round where Kirby advanced despite almost being eliminated from the cutthroat competition. 

Hannah was first shown on television Monday evening during the blind audition portion of the competition. Contestants had the chance to be chosen by teams led by country music singer Blake Shelton, entertainment producer/singer Pharrell Williams, or pop musicians Adam Levine  and Christina Aguilera. 

In Monday’s televised episode, Hannah was chosen to be a part of Blake Shelton's team moments before her performance was complete.

“Throughout the entire song I knew no one was turning around for me and I was so surprised. I was nervous but kept doing my thing. When Blake finally hit his button and turned around, I felt so calm in that moment, despite having so many emotions going through me. It was absolutely amazing,” said Kirby.

Moving forward, Kirby had to duel teammate Sarah Potenza with the song “Gimme Shelter” in Tuesday night’s televised part of the battle rounds competition. After rehearsing the song together under the guidance of Shelton and advisor Meghan Trainor, Kirby was predicted to be the underdog in the battle. 

Once the competition between Kirby and Potenza began, the surprise of the judges in Kirby’s singing abilities could be seen repeatably in their facial expressions. After the dynamic performance, all four judges had a hard time giving their vote to either singer.

“What I didn’t know is that Hannah was going to come out here and blow it out of the water,” said Aguilera. “There was passion and the crazy fireworks exuded from both of you [Kirby and Potenza]. I have to applaud you.”

Levine gave similar praise to Kirby during his critique of the battle. 

“Hello, Hannah. Wow, Sarah is tough. Shame on us [the coaches] because we were expecting a murder, but I’m telling you right now, the shear shock was this was completely even and I have to give this one to you,” said Levine.   

Because it’s Shelton’s team, his vote is the only one that counts. He had to choose which of his teammates would go forward on his team. Shelton did not choose the underdog in the battle. 

“You guys both did great. ... Winner of this battle is Sarah,” said Shelton. 

With Shelton’s decision, Kirby was faced either with elimination or she could be stolen by another coach to add their team. Host Carson Daly asked the remaining coaches if anyone wanted to draft Kirby onto their team. Levine and Williams both slammed their buzzers. After some deliberation Kirby chose Williams to be her new coach. 

With Kirby hanging in there for another week, she will have stiff competition in the coming knock out round. Each coach will pit contestants against one another. In this round, coaches from other teams will not be able to take contestants after they have been eliminated. Winners of the knock out round go on to the live competition with the public voting.

“The Voice” is on NBC on Mondays and Tuesday evenings at 7 p.m.

The performances can be downloaded at iTunes.com/TheVoice.

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