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CANHelp wanting to Pack the Bus with school supplies

CANHelp will be hosting its fifth annual Pack the Bus School Supply Drive to help  provide school supplies for less fortunate local families in readiness of the new school year. 


November is new completion date for jail

After being as much as several weeks behind schedule in the construction of the new $16 million Hopkins County jail because of weather, workers have been busy making up time. The project is now only five days behind schedule, with a completion date in late November, according to Sedalco Project Superintendent Gary Johnson.

“Right now, we're looking, hopefully, at Nov. 25, but that's going to fluctuate a little bit as far as the jail part goes,” Johnson said. “We've got finish paint going on, got tape and bed going on in the administrative area right now, and then the painters will come back next week and start painting out all that.”

While receiving supplies at the jail site Monday morning, Johnson gave a quick update on the progress.

Brick work, the project superintendent said, is almost complete on the new building, and the masons will be back next week to take on some minor details. Punch-list items are being checked off and locks are being installed on all the doors.

“The standard doors, all metal, will be completed Wednesday,” Johnson said. “We are going to have air conditioning. They are going to start the units Aug. 12, and it will take two or three weeks to get all the units going. We have already started the non-slip floors in the showers.”

Furniture for the detention areas of the jail is due to be delivered around the middle of September.

“From then on, we will be starting our floors in September and finishing up areas,” Johnson said. “On the exterior, we are going to start [Tuesday] and finish up our water lines. After that, we will do the dirt work for the drive — the concrete guy will finish that and, hopefully, he should be putting in the driveway and finishing up.” 

However, when the new jail is completed, the county will not immediately begin moving inmates into the facility.

“There are a lot of things that have to take place,” Johnson said. “We have to change over [communications] antennas, have to change over communications, which we can't start doing that until we get the Texas Jail Commission here.”

Construction on the new jail began earlier this year following voter approval of the $16 million bond issue to fund construction of the project.

The new jail will replace an outdated facility that has been long plagued by overcrowding, mechanical problems and equipment issues.

No-kill animal shelter upgrades and holds adoption day

Big changes are in store for the Hearts of Life Animal Rescue in the form of a new facility and an upcoming pet adoption day.  The no-kill shelter owner, Donny Foster, could not be more excited about the future of the organization. 

“We started nine years ago. We are just a group of people that love animals and, so far, we have rescued more than 400 animals since we began,” said Foster. “Currently, we have 55 dogs at our shelter, and survive on community donations.”

Once an animal is found, HOLAR has a veterinarian treat them, spay/neuter the animal and make sure it is ready for adoption. 

One of the animals they have been able to rehabilitate is Zeus. Zeus had been tortured by a pet owner and needed to stay with the veterinarian for more than a month. When Foster and his team found the animal, he had been badly burned all over his body and duck tape wrapped was around the dog’s feet.

“It was just horrible when we found Zeus, but now he is finally up for adoption,” said Foster. “All we charge to adopt and animal is a $90 fee to recoup the cost of the spay or neutering.”

Foster and his volunteers spend their time not only taking care of the animals but also fund raising for the organization. Food, shots and veterinarian visits can all add up over time. As an added difficulty, they are reaching their limit of animals they can house. 

“Right now we are so full, and are caring for every animal we possibly can,” said Foster. 

That scenario took an upturn when local New-York Times best selling author Colleen Hoover decided to donate a substancial amount to HOLAR through her organization, the Bookworm Box. HOLAR also received another generous donation from Hawgz 4 Dogz bike rally. 

“Colleen’s donation paid for the roof of our new building,” said Foster. “We are now able to get started and improve the lives of our dogs,” said Foster.

The new facility will house all the animals and provide a much better drainage system to keep the animals healthy. 

“We are starting ground work on Saturday and, eventually, will have a concrete pad with a roof over it. Right now, we are still trying to raise some money for all the concrete,” said Foster. “Basically, we want better homes for the animals we have. We are also going to build a run in a U-shape so the animals can exercise. It is going to be so much better for our dogs.” 

The new structure is a necessity because it can be 20 degrees cooler inside the building than outside. Foster has several large fans that he is currently using to keep the animals cool throughout the summer. 

As for the upcoming pet adoption day, HOLAR lead volunteer Deborah Balkcom is helping organize the event for Foster. 

“Our adoption event will be at Petsence during the first Saturday in August. We are going to be having the adoption inside the building and will only be able to bring a few animals,” said Balkcom. “Hopefully people will adopt all the animals we bring so we can continually be bringing more animals to adopt that day.”

Typically, HOFAR holds at least one pet adoption per month but during the summer, they hold off until August. 

“Dogs are the best examples of unconditional love. They will love you no matter what and all they ask is for food, water and a pat on the head once in a while,” said Foster.

Muddy Jake’s Bike Rally Taps and Throttles set to benefit local rider

Riding down the highway, looking for adventure might be a thrill but doing it for an incredible cause is even better. Next Saturday, Muddy Jake’s is putting on a bike rally, concert and festival to raise money for a fellow biker in need. The Taps and Throttles Benefit promises to be one fantastic ride. 

“We are hosting the Bike Rally for Richard Darlin. He suffered a brain aneurism and we want to raise money for his doctor bills,” said event coordinator Laci Mayes. “He has over $65,000 in medical bills that he is trying to pay for. Right now, he is recovering and back at work, but we still need to help him out financially.”

Mayers explained that Taps and Throttles will be the first in an annual event that will raise capital each year for a new individual who needs help in the community. 

“Everybody knows Richard because he is a big motorcycle rider in the community,” said Mayes. “For next year, anyone can tell us about someone in the community and Muddy Jake’s will select one person each year to help.”

Registration for the July 25 event begins at 8 a.m. Muddy Jake’s will be serving breakfast tacos during the sign-up. Then, at 10 a.m., it’s time to saddle up and ride. The journey will be from 10 a.m. through 3 p.m. Stops will include VFW, Fosters, East Fork, Gilligan’s and Hartline. At 6 p.m., bands will begin to play and continue throughout the evening. 

Once the riders return, the event will have a poker run, 50/50 raffle, silent auction and best bike contest. 

One of the biggest silent auction items of the evening is a signed guitar by Vince Gill.

“We will be shutting down the street on Saturday and will have vendors. A portion of their proceeds will also be helping Richard Darlin,” said Mayes. “For the concert, we are going to have the Birthright Blues Project and Original 501 bands playing until midnight. We want everyone to come out and enjoy themselves.”

SSISD board to consider insurance, policies during Monday meeting

An insurance contract, system waiver, code of conduct and revisions to legal polices are among the items being submitted for approval to the Sulphur Springs school board during their regular July board meeting Monday. A budget workshop is also slated following the action items portion of the meeting.

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