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Priority deadline to sign up for Blue Santa almost here

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The priority deadline to turn in a Blue Santa application to apply for assistance with toys for Hopkins County families is the close of business at CANHelp Nov. 26. Applicants should bring the original Social Security card for each child and photo ID for the parent/guardian applying for help. Proof of Hopkins County residency, such as a utility bill, will be required if correct address is not on the parent/guardian’s photo ID.

Tony Crayton Convicted murderer sentenced to 50 years

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Eighth District Court Judge Eddie Northcutt sentenced Tony Dewayne Crayton, convicted earlier this month in the stabbing death of his wife, to serve 50 years in prison Monday. In a trial before the court rather than before a jury, Northcutt found Crayton caused the death of Jessica Tyler Crayton and he caused that death intentionally and knowingly. The punishment phase of the trial began Monday after a two-week pre-sentencing investigation. District Attorney Will Ramsay called Millie Townsend, the mother of the murder victim, and the victim's sister to the witness stand to “give the judge a view of what this loss has meant to them” from the perspective of a mother and sister. “They testified as you would expect them to. They painted a picture of a troubled man who had been in and out of their lives for the past seven years or so,” Ramsay said. “Millie Townsend testified that [Crayton] had the potential for good inside of him.” The sister, Laura Townsend, testified on Crayton's behalf and told about Crayton's mother, who is in prison for killing two men. Crayton's mother killed both his father and stepfather. “This painted a dreary picture of Crayton's upbringing,” the district attorney said. “Upon cross-examination, she agreed with me that Crayton had choices to make along the way and he made the wrong ones.” The entire sentencing hearing took only about two hours before the case was recessed in order for Northcutt to consider a sentence for Crayton. Just before noon, the judge announced the 50-year sentence. Crayton will not be eligible for parole until he has served at least half of the sentence. After the sentencing, Millie Townsend stood before Crayton and told him that she loved him and forgave him, then walked to Crayton and embraced him for a short time with Crayton sobbing in her arms. "Millie's behavior throughout this whole trial has been a visible reminder that forgiveness is not mutually exclusive with wanting someone held accountable for their actions,” Ramsay said. “She truly has hated the sin while loving the sinner." Prior to the murder of his wife, Tony Crayton only had two drunk driving convictions in his past — not a long list of violent offenses as might be expected to see in a murder case, the district attorney said. Ramsay also said almost all witnesses said the murder was outside the character of Crayton. "I believe that justice was done. It has been an honor to help the Townsends walk through this very difficult process. I wish I could have known Tyler. She had a gift of showing people love on a daily basis,” Ramsay said. “Her life is a great example and reminder to us during this season of Thanksgiving."

School board approves new teacher, aide and resignation

School trustees this month officially hired a new middle school teacher and primary school aide, accepted the resignation of a first grade teacher, and selected representatives for Hopkins County Appraisal District and the Civic Center board.


SBISD names superintendent finalist

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Sulphur Bluff Independent School District Board of Trustees named Dustin Carr the lone finalist for superintendent Thursday, Nov. 20.


Two J Ranch raises $28,000 for St. Jude hospital

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Saddle Up and Ride for St. Jude was a huge success, with $28,000 collected at the annual event held Nov. 9 at the Two J Ranch in Como. The auction itself raised about $10,000 to go toward the donation to the research hospital for children.

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