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Lawson to stay as Travis principal; others retiring, resigning

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Sulphur Springs Independent School District Board of Trustees Monday night approved more than a dozen staff recommendations, including officially hiring a new principal for Travis, three resignations, and accepting early notification of retirement or resignation by nearly a dozen staff — including several long time staff members.


Inmate found face down in jail in hospital in critical condition

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A 34-year-old Sulphur Springs man was transported from the county jail Friday afternoon to the hospital after he was found face down on the ground shortly after being placed in a “violence” cell, where he’d been placed shortly before for combative behavior. He remained in a Tyler hospital Saturday morning, according to police.


Man found unresponsive in cell dies at hospital

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Texas Rangers investigating death of 34-year-old

Texas Rangers have been called in to investigate the death of a 34-year-old Sulphur Springs man who died in a Tyler hospital after he was found unresponsive in a cell at Hopkins County jail. Tony Chance Ross had been brought to the county jail by Sulphur Springs police officers, who arrested him Friday afternoon after responding to a suspicious person report in the area of W.A. and Beckham streets. The caller said a man was attempting to kick in doors. The man reportedly kicked in one door and was met by a pit bulldog, which he reportedly tossed off. Officers located the suspect, who they were able to identify on sight from previous dealings with him, on or near Lamar Street. He appeared to officers to be in an altered state of mind. A fight ensued as officers tried to get him settled down and into custody, said SSPD Chief Jay Sanders. A Taser was deployed in an attempt to bring the man under control. He reportedly tore out the wires and probes and took off running. An officer caught up with Ross, who continued to fight officers throughout the entire process of placing him into custody and transporting him to the jail, Sanders said. The man was placed in a violence cell, a special jail cell designed to better protect inmates from injuring themselves and others. Afterward, officers left the cell to begin the book-in process for Ross. While doing so, officers heard a sound and ran to check on the man as a precaution. The officer found the man face down on the floor. He did not appear to be conscious or responsive. The officer called for jail staff to get help. The man barely had a pulse, Sanders said. Ross was first taken to Hopkins County Memorial Hospital and then transferred to the Tyler hospital, where he remained on life-support until Sunday. Funeral services are pending at West Oaks Funeral Home for Tony Chance Ross, 34, of Sulphur Springs. Ross died Sunday at Trinity Mother Frances Hospital in Tyler.



Sponsors sought for garden project

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Sulphur Springs Elementary School’s fourth grade classes spent last month building raised garden beds for their Discovery Garden Project. In the coming weeks, SSES is going to be raising chickens, sheep and calves and plant various crops. To fund this project, SSES took a field trip around Sulphur Springs Friday afternoon to raise awareness for their project and to procure additional sponsors.

Last month, SSES worked with Hopkins County Extension Agent Mario Villarino on a grant to help cover the initial costs of the new garden. SSES received $5,000, which covered the soil and lumber costs for the project. A plant sale was also held in early February to raise additional funding.

By the beginning of March, 15 raised garden beds had been constructed, filled with soil and readied for the planting process. The next step was to raise $1,000 in sponsorships to help purchase all the plants, feed and housing for the incoming livestock. 

“Back in November, we decided that our students needed to learn how to grow their own food, eat healthier and learn about agriculture,” said SSES teacher Misty Brock. “SSES is looking for sponsors to help us purchase the vegetables needed to start our gardens. Our fourth grade classes will be planting lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, beets and onions. Our goal is to harvest the plants at the end of the semester and have a salad day.”   

At 1 p.m. Friday, determined fourth graders loaded up in a school bus. They had practiced presentations about their garden project to raise sponsorship.  Some of the locations they visited included Nortex Tractor, Alliance Bank and City National Bank.

Alliance Bank President and CEO Tom Sellers met with the classes at the bank on Thursday at 1:30 p.m. 

“Welcome everyone. What can I do for you?” asked Sellers.

The students talked about the importance of food, where it comes from, what they had learned about agriculture thus far and why they needed sponsorship to continue the project. 

“I would be happy to help the Discovery Garden Project. I graduated with an agriculture degree when I went to college and I know how important this project is to your class,” said Sellers. “Maybe when your class is finished growing your crops, I can stop by and come see you guys?”

The SSES students agreed with Sellers’ proposal and left his office, headed to their next business presentation. Once all of the sponsorship money has been raised, chickens, sheep and calves will be brought to SSES. 

“We should be getting all of our animals after spring break. We will also be getting the sheep we took care of last year,” said Brock. “SSES is really starting a real farm. There are so many of our students that do not know where items like eggs come from. That’s why the SSES Discovery Garden Project is going to be so great for our students.”    


Students win blue ribbons at San Antonio show

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Sulphur Springs High School students all received blue ribbons in all their categories at San Antonio Junior Agricultural Mechanics Show this past weekend. 

“This is my second year at the competition, and I am pretty used to the operations,” said SSHS student Ethan Phillips. “Overcoming obstacles when you build a project is always the most difficult.”

Phillips and partner Quinton Joslin built a 10 foot metal brake which will be used by SSHS at the end of the semester. 

“This past weekend, SSHS entered a 32 foot gooseneck trailer, sheet metal brake, cattle loading chute and shop table,” said Phillips. “We arrived on Friday but Saturday was the judging. On Saturday, we were ready around eight in the morning and waited for the judges to come by and look at what we built. On Sunday, they awarded prizes and announced class and division winners.”

SSHS high school students have been preparing for the San Antonio show and the upcoming Houston show, which will be during spring break, since the beginning of the year. 

“One of the most important things in a bigger competition is getting your book right. Every show has a different set of rules and guidelines like how many pictures are supposed to be in your book. Even when we are entering the same project into the Houston show that we did at San Antonio, we have to check all the addition guidelines on their website and be prepared. ... No matter how much hard work you put into your project, there is still more you can do,” said Phillips.

Students who participated in the show were Hunter Stonaker, who received first place in his class for a 32 foot gooseneck trailer; Phillips and Joslin entered a sheet metal brake and received second place in their class; Carson Hicks, Clancy Horton, Drew Forsman, Ricky Wyly, Logan Merrell, David Ramsey received a blue ribbon for a cattle loading chute and Sloan McGahee and Mason Cleveland received a blue ribbon for their shop table.  

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