OISD trustees consider FieldTurf, receive restitution

An information session on installing an artificial surface at Coach Chester Roy Stadium was at the top of the agenda at the regular monthly Overton Independent School District board of trustees meeting Monday night.

OISD superintendent Alan Umholtz was quick to clarify that the district had made no commitment to do so at this time and that there would be no allocation of bond funds towards such an endeavor.

“That’s not what the residents of Overton approved when they voted in favor of the bond last year,” Umholtz said. “If we’re going to do something like this, the funding is going to have to come from outside the district, all of our available funding is directed elsewhere for the time being.”

Overton voters approved a $6.5 million bond issue by a narrow 24-vote margin in May of last year.

Ross Whitting, Southwest Construction Manager with FieldTurf, was on hand and presented the board with an estimate for a complete installation for a new surface, complete with endzone and field markings, coming to approximately $600,000.

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Nigerian Internet Scams

There’s an old saying that goes, “If it looks too good to be true, it probably is,” and nowhere is that more apparent than on the Internet.

Unavoidable to anyone with an email account, the latest examples of this adage are the ubiquitous “Nigerian” scams.

Termed “4-1-9” or “Advanced Free Fraud” schemes by U.S. Treasury officials, the pattern is the same: a wealthy foreign “dignitary” sends you an emailing, claiming a set of extreme circumstances in which he or she requests your assistance in transferring a large sum of money, with a large reward promised for your efforts.

A great story, to be sure, but it has proved costly to many. In the time it takes to read this article, another individual has fallen prey to these scammers.

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To the Class of 2010

Another graduation season has come. Yes, it is that time of year again.

Invitations have gone out in the hopes to prompt long-lost relatives to repondez s’il vous plait, or at least send money.

To top it all off is the ceremony itself.

A long-winded affair in which the valedictorian or a guest speaker tells the assembled students that “individuality is the key to success,” all while they are dressed in identical mortarboard caps and gowns.

Do I sound cynical? Maybe I am.

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“I now pronounce you husband and wife…”

So I have spent the better part of the last day or so in New Orleans, officiating the marriage of an old friend.

It was your classic tale of boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy finds girl, boy gets Colon Cancer, boy beats illness into remission, boy marries girl on a pier overlooking a marshy bayou as the Sun slips silently into the horizon.

Hmm…  so maybe it’s not that “classic” but it was certainly real. In fact, I can think of no better description than that: it was real.

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Roller Derby Revival

The spectator sport of roller derby reached its zenith in the United States in the halcyon days before early 1970 fuel shortages and spiraling prices grounded barnstorming.

However, a recent revival of the sport originating in Austin is slowly bringing it back to East Texas and elsewhere.

The East Texas Bombers are part of this nascent resurgence, and they’re looking for a few good ladies to join in the fun.

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Overinflated sense of self-importance

On a given day, there is no telling just with whom I might talk.

Since I started working at the Henderson Daily News last year, I have had conversations with city and county officials about matters trivial and crucial. If there is a major crime in the area, it will be a representative of the law enforcement agency with the most immediate jurisdiction.

I have little doubt that my phone calls and e-mails have tested the patience of many but I am glad to report that most, if not all, have been polite and professional in their exchanges.

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It can’t happen here…

“…do not say “Why were the former days better than these?”
For it is not from wisdom that you ask this.”

King Solomon the Wise (Ecclesiastes 7:10)

This town, the city of Overton, looked a certain way to me when I first arrived here…  some twenty years hence.

I remember a couple small-time grocery stores that competed with the local Brookshire’s branch, including Creekmur’s which was a throwback to a bygone era of locally-owned and operated establishments. There was a Perry’s department store as well as two Dollar general stores. I remember no fewer than three locally-owned Garages, who were forced to keep their prices reasonable due to the abundance of available competition. I think there were two drugstores as well, but I could be mistaken on that one.

The storefronts along the main drag of aptly-named Commerce Street boasted a Laundromat, a hardware store, an insurance company, two barbershops, a video store that doubled as a pool hall, and one of the best pizza parlors in all of East Texas.

What few of those businesses still remain, they remain but a shadow of their former selves.

Scattered throughout the great vastness of Texas are ghost towns by the hundreds. Even in our own immediate area are such communities as Belleveu, Jamestown, Rocky Mount, Salem, Sexton City, and Turnertown.

In some cases there are still the last vestiges of these once relatively populous municipalities. Whether in the form of post offices, cross-roads gas stations, or simply a blinking red light that forces you to pause for a moment and maybe look around.

More often than not, these places are relegated to the footnotes of local history and lore.

The work camps of “Joinerville” once held a veritable “metropolis” of roustabouts and laborers during the Oil Boom of the 1930s. Not anymore. Those days have long since passed.

Seldom does a town simply close its doors overnight. No, it is a gradual development.

With each season it dwindles and grays into a pale quiet nothingness. The noise of commerce and activity replaced with the song of birds or the winds rustling through trees and tall meadows.

Don’t say it can’t happen here.

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