From Staff Reports Saturday should be a beautiful day at Buford Park, where more than 150 stew pots will be set up to serve thousands of hungry individuals. The World Champion Hopkins County Stew Contest has a record 154 entries this year, as cooks will start setting up camp tomorrow at the park. They will do so under a forecast that calls for low temperatures in the mid-50s and highs in the mid-80s for the weekend. By 10:45 a.m. Saturday, the cooks will all have their chicken or beef stew ready for serving.
For $5, the public can get a bowl and make their way around Buford Park and sample as many of the stews as they want. Tickets are on sale in advance at Alliance Bank, City National Bank, Guaranty Bank and Trust, Pilgrim Bank and Texas Heritage National Bank. They will also be on sale Saturday morning at the park. The winners will be announced sometime after noon. To make getting around easier, the Downtown Business Alliance is offering free trolley rides from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday from downtown at the Corvette show out to Buford Park for the stew contest and to the Hopkins County Regional Civic center for the Fall Festival. The trolley will run from the corner of Connally and Davis Streets to a drop off in front of Kids Kingdom at Buford Park, and to a spot between the Civic Center and high school for Fall Festival. It should make the stops about every 20-30 minutes. Before and after the stew contest, the 45th Annual Fall Festival will be going strong. Starting at 6 p.m. tonight, the three contestants in the Cover Girl contest will complete their final activities: cutting up a chicken, stacking hay and sewing.
The contestants are Miranda Rushin, Shelbie Lackey and Morgan Mayers. The first place Cover Girl winner will receive a $1,000 scholarship, with second place receiving $750. The 2014 Cover Girl title will be announced Saturday, Oct. 25, in the Civic Center Arena during the Fall Festival concert. Other events this week at the Fall Festival include: Thursday, Oct. 23 n Cover Girl competition, 6 p.m. at the Equine Pavilion at the Civic Center. n Carnival, 6 p.m. to midnight. n BMX Exhibition, 7 p.m. at the skate park in Buford Park. n Registration for the Creative Arts Contest, 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. in SSHS Conference Center. Friday, Oct. 24 n/ Registration for the Creative Arts Contest continues from 7:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. in SSHS Conference Center. n/ BMX Bike show, 10 a.m., 1:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. Friday in front of the Civic Center. n/ Commercial booths, starting at 9 a.m. at the Civic Center and Sulphur Springs High School. n/ Kids Zone, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Civic Center Equine Pavilion, with food vendors, bounces house, a petting zoo and other activities. n/ David Wonders Magic Show, 3 p.m. Friday at Equine Pavilion. n/ Arts and Crafts Show, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at SSHS. n/ Carnival, 6 p.m. to midnight. n/ Cody Johnson Band and Tyler and the Tribe play in concert Friday at the Civic Center. Whiskey Myers and Johnny Cooper will perform a concert Saturday night. Gates open at 6 p.m. and music starts at 7:15 p.m. Tickets are $15 in advance or $20 at the show, or get at two-day concert pass for $30, and pay $35 for the VIP tent.
Southern Soul, winner of Muddy Jake’s Battle of the Bands, will open for the Friday concert. Saturday, Oct. 25 n/ Creative Arts Contest, open for public viewing from 8 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.; Best of Show winners are to report at 1:30 p.m. Saturday for winner pictures. n/ Sulphur Springs Corvette Club’s Corvette Show, Heritage Plaza from 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Show car registration starts 8 a.m. and ends at 11 a.m. with viewing from 8 a.m. until 2:30 pm. Awards will be presented at 2:30 pm. n/ Commercial exhibits and the food court opens at 9 a.m. at the Civic Center. n/ The Legends of Crossroads Western reenactment, 10 a.m., noon, 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. on the Civic Center grounds. n/ World Champion Hopkins County Stew Contest, serving starts at 10:45 a.m. in Buford Park. Tickets are $5 for all-you-can-eat. Winners will be announced about 12:45 p.m. n/ Duck Race, 1 p.m. in the creek along the east side of the Civic Center. n/ Earl W. Martin 42 Tournament, 1 p.m. at the Senior Citizen Center. Cost is $25 per team. n/ Lone Star BMX Bike Show, 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. Saturday in front of the Civic Center. n/ Kids Zone, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday at Civic Center Equine Pavilion, with food vendors, bounces house, a petting zoo and other activities. n/ David Wonders Magic Show, 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. Saturday at Equine Pavilion. n/ Arts and Crafts Show, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at SSHS. n/ Dinner Tonight demonstrations, conducted hourly starting at 10 a.m. through 2 p.m., with the drawing for the Kitchen Aid mixer scheduled at 3 p.m., in foyer to the Civic Center Auditorium. n/ Carnival, 6 p.m. to midnight. n/ Whiskey Myers and Johnny Cooper will perform a concert Saturday night. Gates open at 6 p.m. and music starts at 7:15 p.m. Tickets are $15 in advance or $20 at the show. The new 2014-15 Cover Girl will be announced during Saturday night’s concert. Sunday, Oct. 26 n/ Tejano Day activities, noon to 6 p.m. on Civic Center grounds will feature food, music and the carnival.
Defense attorney Frank Hughes and District Attorney Will Ramsay spent about 90 minutes Wednesday morning before Eighth District Judge Eddie Northcutt arguing the merits of the sentencing in the murder plea of Roy Dean Duffey, in which the conviction was overturned and the case remanded back to Eighth Judicial District Court for a “new trial by a different judge.” Arguments this morning centered around whether a plea agreement was accepted by the court. Duffey, accused in the February 2011 stabbing death of David Harrison Cooper, was set for a jury trial in July of last year before agreeing to a plea agreement that specified a sentence of 10 years in prison with a provision for “shock probation” which would mean 180 days in prison, including two months time already served, before Duffey would have been released to serve the remainder of his sentence on probation. Attorneys for Duffey appealed the sentence last year after then-District Judge Robert Newsom rejected the plea agreement. Newsom's rejection of the plea bargain came after members of David Harrison Cooper's family met with the judge without defense and prosecution attorneys in what was termed an ex parte meeting. Following that meeting, attorneys Chad Cable and Frank Long filed a motion to recuse or disqualify Newsom from the case. That motion left Judge Newsom with two options: he could have either removed himself from the case or asked the presiding judge of the First Administrative District to appoint another judge to hear the case. Newsom chose the latter. Presiding Judge John D. Ovard rejected the motion to disqualify Newsom. The conviction was then appealed to the Court of Appeals for the Sixth Appellate District of Texas in Texarkana. The appellate court, after reviewing the trial, sent the case back to Hopkins County in February of this year. “While the recusal testimony indicates the trial judge [Newsom] refused to discuss the details of the case during the ex parte meeting, he clearly listened to the concerns and objections of the Coopers and [Pastor Lavelle] Hendricks regarding a sentencing decision that was not yet final,” the appeals court wrote. “Allowing this trial judge, even if he were to sit mute, to meet privately with a crime victim's family and pastor regarding sentencing and unfinalized plea agreements would create a dangerous precedent that could prejudice injustice in other cases. Characterizing this behavior by a jurist [judge] as harmless would undermine public confidence in the judicial system. “Accordingly, we [appeals court] reverse the trial court's judgment and remand the case for a new trial by a different judge,” the ruling stated. The question before the court Wednesday morning was whether the original plea bargain agreement in the second-degree felony manslaughter trial had been accepted by the court. At the conclusion of Wednesday's hearing, Northcutt said he would hand down his ruling on the case on Monday, Sept. 27. Roy Dean Duffey, under terms of the plea agreement, was to have spent less than six months in prison, and has now spent more than a year behind bars. Northcutt's ruling could mean that Duffey would either serve the remainder of a 10-year sentence on probation or be returned to prison.
A 40-year-old Cumby man, Ramiro Maares Jimenez, was killed Wednesday afternoon when a large oak tree he was cutting down fell on him. According to Hopkins County Sheriff’s deputies, the tree Jimenez was cutting split and twisted as it fell, crushing him under one part of the tree. Justice of the Peace Yvonne King, who was called to the scene, indicated the man may have gotten his feet tangled in brush and briar around the tree and was unable to get out of the way of the falling tree. Rescuers had to call in a piece of heavy equipment to lift the tree off of the man.