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Comedic Timing

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Julie Penkava (left) and Cindy Landcaster read lines together at Main Street Theatre's auditions, which were held Monday through Wednesday evenings. Their new production is a Steve Martin play entitled "The Underpants," which will debut March 3.

Staff Photo by Isabel Reyna

Natural Disaster Training

Hopkins County emergency services, pipeline specialists and operators received training yesterday at the Texas Public Awareness Emergency Response program in the Hopkins County Regional Civic Center Wednesday. Texas 811 presenter Mark Baker focused the training on natural disasters and accidental pipeline punches in East Texas.

“We need to realize the majority of pipeline strikes happen because of third party strikes but natural disasters do happen,” said Baker. “If someone doesn’t call 811 or know what to do, the results can be deadly.”

Baker said that due to the increase in small earthquakes across Texas, emergency services and pipeline experts need to get together incase a natural disaster happens in Hopkins County.

“Right now there are 25 million miles of pipeline running through the United States,” said Baker.

Baker showed a short video of the Joplin Tornado devastation in 2011. The video explained during the the first hour, emergency service received over 800 calls and then all communications wentdown. In order to communicate, officers used purchased VHFradios to communicate with volunteers in the field to save lives after the natural disaster.

“This is one example of what emergency responders have to deal with in a natural disaster. In this case they lost all communications and spent several days overcoming that obstacle,” said Baker.

After the presentation, Hopkins County pipline experts and Emergency services worked together to formulate a plan in case a natural disaster broke pipelines that run through the county. Baker explained the importance of having a plan in place in any circumstance.

Crime in Sulphur Springs hits 15-year low in 2014

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total_crimes_2014_line_graph.jpgCrime in Sulphur Springs reached a 15-year low in 2014, dipping 12.32 percent from the 211 crimes recorded by Sulphur Springs Police Department just one year before. And, the second half of 2014 saw 15 fewer crimes than the first six months of the year.

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Council hears plans for new special needs field

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Estimated cost is $500,000

Plans for a rubberized baseball field for special needs children were presented to Sulphur Springs City Council members Tuesday evening. Bright Star Baseball League is planning to construct a field for the special needs children in the league. City Manager Marc Maxwell said Veronica Yost had contacted him about the need for a field and funding. “We quickly determined we had a field in Buford Park, an ex tee-ball field that would work pretty good,” Maxwell said. “She began right away.” He added, “After the first season, she came to me and said the season had been more successful than she had dreamed and would like to take it to the next level. “These fields are made for this purpose and, basically, they are concrete fields covered with a rubber overlay because wheelchairs don't do too well on mud,” Maxwell said. “They are made for this very purpose. I visited with her about it and said, 'You know, we've rebuilt a couple of fields recently, we've matched donations of up to $35,000. Without making a trip to the council, I bet they would be willing to do that again.'” Maxwell pointed out a field he felt would be appropriate on the outside of the Buford Park circle and near Peavine Pinion Pond. The city manager said he was very impressed with Yost and felt that “if anybody can make this project happen she can.” Veronica and husband, Mike Yost, parents of a special needs child, are very passionate about Bright Star Baseball and a special baseball diamond for games. “I'm very passionate about it, not only as a parent of a special needs child, but I am a strong advocate and have always been a strong advocate of every special needs child,” she said. “I think that every child deserves the same opportunity as any other child. They can't ask that themselves, so they need parents like myself and other people that can speak on their behalf because they can't articulate their wants and their needs.” Construction of the Bright Star Baseball League field is expected to cost in the neighborhood of $500,000, and the association will be seeking grants to help pay for it. Currently, plans are calling for the field to be ready for the 2016 season. “There are foundations that offer money to build these types of fields for special needs children,” Mrs. Yost said. “We are going to tackle every avenue. We will be doing local fundraising.” Zander Brown, 15-year-old Frisco Liberty High School sophomore and Power Showcase National qualifier and Power Showcase Home Run Derby Texas Underclassman representative, is partnering with Bright Star Baseball ito raise money for constructing a poured-in-place rubber surface baseball field that would allow the participants of Bright Star Baseball to play regardless of disability. “He will be doing fundraising as well,” Mrs. Yost said. “This project, really, is a project that he chose. He chose Bright Star Baseball and that's what kind of snowballed and got us to where we are today.” Mrs. Yost said, with the amount of money that would need to be raised, there was a lot of work ahead. “What it means to us,” she said. “Is that what you see are kids out on that baseball field. It doesn't matter if they hit that ball the first pitch or it takes them 15 pitches to hit that ball and never give up. When they hit that ball, they run that bases like they had just hit a homerun.” Following the Bright Star League presentation by Yost, Don Sapaugh, representing Sulphur Springs Lions Club, told the council the Lions Club felt like a trust had been broken with the current efforts for a Bright Star Baseball League field. “I found it regretful that there was not a single word mentioned about our Sulphur Springs Lions Club in the previous speech,” Sapaugh said. “If any of our special needs players in the audience or if any of our council members that have watched the special needs league as teams go on, you've noticed that Lions Club has had a very special part in that. The tune of that when the board was started, a board was set up to help direct, there were no by-laws, there were no partnership agreements. It was just a general partnership between the Hopkins County Boys Baseball Association and the Sulphur Springs Lions Club.” In a meeting with Hopkins County Boys Baseball, Bright Star League and the Lions Club, the work began. “The Lions Club provided the bulk of the volunteers that came on the field, and we thought the partnership was going fine,” Sapaugh said. “Sometime in 2014, we find out through a newspaper ad that the league had decided to build a field. None of our board members were notified. Then we were notified that a 501C(3) was originated that we weren't aware of. Tonight we find out there is a board of directors that's been established. There are plans that have been made on the field, there have been contractors that have been consulted, a budget has been set up and there has been a field that has been approved, apparently, by the city. “So, the Lions Club had a difficult decision to make,” Sapaugh said. “We honestly feel that a trust has been broken. We received a letter from the new 501(c)3 Bright Star group that had asked the Lions Club be in participation and would like our support and like our help but, I will confess. I feel like our trust has been broken. We are trying to decide, we are torn because we love our special needs players. We had a great time with them.” Sapaugh said the Lions Coub did not want to get bogged down in fundraising and, again, said a trust had been broken. “But we also feel like that there's been a trust that has been broke with this and we have to be careful because we serve the communty and we don't want to get something where we feel like we've been back-doored or mavericked into doing something,” he said. “The Lions Club is searching for a way to figure out how to continue to serve this league, but we are very concerned.”

Reading and Writing

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Bowie Primary School first graders (from left) Cameron Johnson, Luke White, Claire Monk and Tatum Thompson work together in their cooperative learning reading group in Kara Argenbright’s class. They are currently reading “House Mouse, Senate Mouse” and collaborating to retell the story.

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