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Former Cumby teacher indicted by federal court for child exploitation

TYLER – Former Cumby High School and Junior High math teacher Lucas R. Hill was indicted late Tuesday morning in the Eastern District of Texas on child exploitation charges, according to U.S. Attorney John M. Bales.


‘Streetcar’ presents different perspective than film

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On his summer break from college, director Triston Pullen is bringing Hopkins County a darker side of theater.  Surrounded with adult themes, metaphor and intense emotion, “A Streetcar Named Desire” premieres this Thursday at Reed’s Entertainment. Warning, this production is for adults only. 

“This is a very dark tale,” said Pullen. “For me, this is a very spiritual show. It talks about a woman [Blanche] who is searching and loses so many times in her life. She feels that God has left her. She then finds God in men but, every time a man leaves her, it’s like her spirit is torn out of her.”

After graduating from Sulphur Springs High School, Pullen received a scholarship to Santa Fe University of Art and Design. Pullen said that working in a community that thrives in creativity has helped shape him as a director and actor. 

“I have never seen a show like this in Sulphur Springs. When I moved to Santa Fe, a world of culture hit me,” said Pullen. “I wanted ‘Streetcar Named Desire’ to be intense. It’s all about the spirit, and how it breaks down.”

While keeping the classic tale the same, Pullen wanted to add something almost religious to the production. To add multi-layered dimensions, Pullen instructed the entire set to be painted white and had technicians use LED lighting to transmit emotion, pain and ethos into the characters during the production. The effect is a visual immersion and commentary on art. 

“We wanted to show what reality was verses what is in Blanche’s mind,” said Pullen. “The film dialed down the lover’s death and only insinuated things that are actually in our show. I told my cast not to watch the movie. It might be set in the 1940s, but it has a very modern feel.”

  “A Streetcar Named Desire” will run July 23-26 and 30-31 at Reed’s Entertainment. All showtimes are at 7 p.m., except Sundays at 2:30 p.m. Tickets are $10 in advance or $12 at the door. 


Fall Festival lip sync contest offering cash prizes

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Hopkins County Fall Festival may still be more than three months away — it’s not scheduled until Oct. 17-24 — but the HCFF Board will be sponsoring a new contest at the end of the month to raise funds for and provide a fun means to start generating buzz about the annual fair.

The Next Big Thing Lip Sync Battle will be held Friday evening, July 31, at First Baptist Church’s Recreational Outreach Center (known as The ROC). The doors will open at 6 p.m. and the cost of admission to watch the show is $5 each.

Thanks to the generosity of sponsors such as Circle E Western Store and Flowerland, HCFF will award three monetary prizes, $200 for first place, $100 for second and $50 for third.

Judging will be based on three components: synchronization, costume and performance. Each act will receive a score of 0-10 points in each of the three categories.

All songs, costumes and performances must be family appropriate. Any vulgar or obscene performances will be stopped mid-performance and disqualified. Performances must be less than five minutes each. Contestants must provide on CD the music they plan to lip sync to.

Those entering the contest should turn in the $15 per person entry fee and completed application no later than Wednesday, July 29, at Hopkins County Regional Civic Center. Entry forms are available at the Civic Center, Circle E Western Store and at The ROC.

All proceeds for the contest will benefit Hopkins County Fall Festival.

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

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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.

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