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Mark CarpenterMarch 30, 2016 - In ten seconds, where is the largest daylily farm in the southern United States? (No using Google!) If you answered Shelby County, Texas, you get an “A” because many life-long residents of our county are unaware of that fact. Located on four acres off Highway 7, west of Center, The Lily Farm has been in business for thirty years.

Speaking to members of the Timpson Area Genealogical and Heritage Society at their March meeting, current owner of The Lily Farm, Mark Carpenter, told how he first became fascinated with daylilies when he visted The Lily Farm in his youth. The farm was started by Mark's uncle, Jack Carpenter, who Mark says is one of the top ten daylily experts in the country. Jack's primary interest was the hybridization of daylilies and creation of very rare “top end” daylilies. Over the next few decades, Mark had a business career, family, and lived in several cities, but his love of daylilies and his uncle's farm endured. Finally, when his uncle decided to retire and sell the farm a few years ago, Mark became the new owner.

Jack Carpenter started The Lily Farm with five hybrid daylilies. Today Mark has over 15,000 plants, with 15 or 20 of them “really special” he says. Whereas Jack was only interested in “high end” daylilies, Mark has expanded The Lily Farm's offerings to include more common, yet beautiful, varieties which are affordable to most customers. By contrast, the rare varieties sell for upwards of $150 a plant. The Lily Farm does not wholesale and all customers are welcome. Mark says they like visitors. They get more customers from Shreveport and Tyler than anywhere else, and occasionally have tour busses come in from other states. “The average customer age is between 55 and 80,” Mark says. He hopes younger people who visit will “catch the daylily bug”. 

Two of The Lily Farm's four acres are under “shade houses' to protect the plants from hail damage. A bad hailstorm is a disaster. Another threat to the plants is wild hogs. “If hogs were able to get through the fence they could destroy all of our work overnight,” he says. So far, that hasn't happened. The farm has only two employees, Mark and Jose Morales, the foreman, without whom Mark adds “the farm could not exist”. Mark says he and Jose spend a lot of time on their knees, since all cultivation must be done by hand. The farm doesn't have a set calendar since everything is controlled by the lilies themselves. They bloom when they bloom and the farm is open seven days a week during the blooming season. In addition to daylilies, the farm now has a nursery and offers blueberry bushes, sword palms, knockout roses, and camillias. “Since we sell directly to the public, our prices are much lower than 'big box' stores” he revealed.

At the end of his talk, Mark offered several varieties of daylilies to those present for purchase at special “TAGHS Meeting” prices. As members milled around the boxes of daylily “clumps”, making their selections, Mark advised members that when set before Mothers Day, daylilies will bloom for four weeks. “Daylilies are pretty hardy” Mark told purchasers “but they prefer morning sun and afternoon shade”. At the conclusion of his presentation, Mark generously gave the unsold daylily clumps to TAGHS, all of which were promptly bought by member Margie Holt.

TAGHS meets at 2pm on the third Wednesday of each month in the Meeting Room of the Timpson Public Library, located on the corner of Austin and Bremond streets. The public is invited. 

Brandi EmanisMarch 29, 2016 - Woodmen Life Chapter #250 held their regular meeting at the Shelby County Courthouse Community Room on the evening of Thursday, March 21, 2016. Brandi Emanis with the Senior Nutrition Site presented the program for the meeting and she thanked the Woodmen Life representatives for the generous donations they have given to the Shelby County Outreach Ministries (SCOM) and the Senior Nutrition Site, as she was speaking also on behalf of SCOM.

"The Shelby County Outreach Ministries, with the Senior Nutrition Site, provided over $94,000 worth of assistance in the form of senior emergency food boxes and utility assistance, emergency medicine and dental, prescription assistance and many other miscellaneous things," said Emanis.

Emanis then gave a brief explanation of the program at the Senior Nutrition Site.

"We feed, at our local site on average, 35 to 45 or so people a day. At our San Augustine Site our numbers are very down. San Augustine is under the Shelby County Outreach umbrella, but we have about 8 to 10 people on average a day," said Emanis.

She stated she is in the process of getting a meals on wheels program started in San Augustine, "For our Meals on Wheels here in Shelby County we deliver to 45 to 50 people a day and that number is constantly growing," said Emanis.

There is one driver delivering for the Senior Nutrition Site and Emanis said he is Donald Weatherly. He delivers the food to the San Augustine Senior Nutrition Site and he also delivers to the recipients of the Meals on Wheels program.

Emanis said there is a new program being featured at the Senior Nutrition Site called Do Well, Be Well and it is being presented by Jheri-Lynn McSwain, Shelby County Extension Agent.

Christopher Green, Woodmen Life Financial Representative"It's teaching you about nutrition of course, it's teaching you about diabetes and all sorts of things such as that. The last Friday that we had our meeting she had Dr. [Gary] Barkocy, [NMC Cardiologist]," said Emanis.

Emanis described how Dr. Barkocy provided very informative presentations on the heart, and different foods.

The next class which will be presented is on April 1, 2016 and it will be on medications with guest speaker Pam Miller. PVD screenings will also be given during the program.

Gospel singing is now featured at the site on even months on the first Tuesday of that month.

Cecelia Boles, Woodmen Life member, asked Emanis at the end of her program if the Thanksgiving dinner which the site provides is funded through donations, or by the site and Emanis said it is funded through donations.

Toward the end of the meeting Christopher Green Woodmen Life Financial Representative, presented a new banner during the meeting for Woodmen Life which will be hung at the Shelby County Expo Center for Education Day.

March 29, 2016 - Watson & Sons Funeral Home was recently honored to assist the family of Stanley Burgay with funeral arrangements.

While our business strives to fulfill our motto, “Our family serving your family” with everyone we serve, there are those times when we have the opportunity to be a part of a much larger community joining together as a family to honor the memory of one who has impacted the lives of so many… such was the case with both the visitation and funeral service for Stanley Burgay.

We were overwhelmed with the outpouring of support and efforts to assist by law enforcement officials. No task was too large or small – there was only a genuine attitude of service to insure their fellow officer was honored.

Thank you to your family of law enforcement officers serving one of your own and those he held dear.  We are thankful to be a part of this community and express our sincere thanks.

March 28, 2016 - Polly Smith was the hostess and program leader for the March 17th meeting of the Center Women’s Reading Club. President, Janene Walker welcomed members and guest. The Center Women’s Reading Club members have been invited by the Carthage Reading Club to attend a special program and lunch on April 18. Gae-Lynn Woods, author of the Cass Elliott Crime Series will be the speaker. The Center ladies voted to attend the Carthage program in lieu of the regularly scheduled April 21st meeting.

It was announced that the 2016-2017 course of study for the Club would be selections from the 2015 New York Times Best Seller list. A selection of books from the list will be distributed. Members will be encouraged to choose a book before summer break.

Polly Smith reviewed the book The Mockingbird Next Door, by Marja Mills. The book is the journalist’s memoir of her friendship with (Nell) Harper Lee and her sister, Alice.

Marja Mills is a reporter for the Chicago Tribune. In 2001, Chicago’s “One Book, One Read”, was To Kill A Mockingbird. Ms. Mills travelled to Harper Lee’s hometown of Monroeville, Alabama with hopes of an interview with the famous author. Many journalists have made the journey to Monroeville, trying and failing to get an interview with the allusive Harper Lee.

Alice Finch Lee answered the door when Ms. Mills arrived, and invited her in to visit. The next day, Mills received an invitation from Harper Lee to visit her. They talked and Mills promised not to write anything the sisters did not want to be made public. It was the beginning of a long interview, and a wonderful friendship.

In 2004, with the Lee’s encouragement, Mills moved into the house next door to the sisters. She spent the next 18 months sharing stories over coffee, feeding the ducks, fishing and exploring all over lower Alabama with the Lees and their inner circle.

Harper Lee was born in 1926, the youngest of four children. She was named after Dr. Harper, the doctor who saved her sister Louise. Her sister, Alice, was the oldest. Alice was fifteen years older than Harper. Alice was an attorney and Harper Lee said that she was Atticus in a dress. They had a brother Ed who died at a young age.

Harper Lee’s mother, Frances Finch Lee, was in “delicate condition”. Harper’s father wanted Harper to attend law school. Harper was smart. She was admitted into law school but first spent the summer at Oxford University as an exchange student. When she returned, Harper told her father she had decided not to attend law school.

In 1949, Harper Lee moved to New York City; worked for an airline and wrote. She became friends with Broadway composer and lyricist Michael Brown and his wife, Joy. Her Christmas gift, in 1956, from the Browns was one year’s salary so she could quit work and write.

She finished the manuscript for To Kill A Mockingbird in 1959. Soon after, she helped fellow-writer and friend, Truman Capote write and article for the New Yorker, which would later become In Cold Blood. Harper was his research assistant. They travelled together to Kansas to interview people and do research.

When Capote’s book was finally published in 1966, Capote dedicated the book to Harper Lee but failed to acknowledge her contributions to the work. Although Harper was angry and hurt by this betrayal she remained friends with Capote for the rest of his life.

To Kill A Mockingbird was published in 1960. The following year it won the Pulitzer Prize. In 1962, the film adaptation was released. Harper Lee travelled to California. When she met Gregory Peck, she said “isn’t he delicious?” The movie received 8 Academy nominations. It won 3 Awards including Gregory Peck as Best Actor. His character was based on her father.

Later in life, Harper Lee suffered a stroke and lived in an assisted living home until her death this year, February 19, 2016. She was 89 years old. Her second novel Go Set a Watchman was published in July 2015.

Mrs. Smith served delicious “southern” refreshments and members enjoyed a special time of fellowship.

March 28, 2016 - As flood waters hit the Shelby County area, many waterways within the county breached their normal banks and in some instances became more like rivers than creeks. Two local men saw the increased waterways and determined they were up for a challenge.

Shelby Couny Today spotted two men on March 10, 2016 who took advantage of the increased current and coverage areas to have an adventure.

Jason Burch and Ryan Chandler each boarded kayaks and traveled what was then the raging waters of the Huana Creek. They started their journey two miles west of Loop 500 on State Highway 7 West where they put in. From there, the men traveled several miles to the U.S. 96 South bridge over the Huana Creek where they disembarked.

March 28, 2016 - The Easter Bunny paid a visit to Shelby County Today on Good Friday, March 25, 2016 and several other businesses in the area. Also visited by the Easter Bunny were Lakeside Village Assisted Living, Dr. Florencio Singson, Brookshire Brothers in Center, A Pineywoods Home Health Care, Nacogdoches Medical Center - Center Emergency Department, Green Acres of Center and Mangum Funeral Home.

Making this visit possible was Kim Henigan, LVN, Marketing Executive with HeartsWay Hospice of Northeast Texas. She stated the Lord had put it on her heart early that morning at 2am to go visit people with the Easter Bunny.


March 26, 2016 - On Thursday, March 24th citizens and veterans gathered at the Veterans Memorial on the grounds of the Historic Courthouse to remember those who served in the Kosovo Campaign 17 years ago.  Leigh Porterfield placed the Memorial Wreath in honor of her sister who served in the US Army.

March 24, 2016 - VFW National Commander John Biedrzycki said the VFW stands with ally Belgium as it mourns in the wake of a vicious and cowardly attack on Tuesday by radical Islamic extremists who are “hell-bent on destroying us and our entire way of life." The Chief called America vulnerable because it has porous borders, a broken immigration system, and elected and appointed officials who refuse to recognize this enemy as a threat to national security. He also said America is weakened by a Congress that still refuses to eliminate sequestration, which takes a meat cleaver to the budgets of national defense, intelligence and homeland security. Biedrzycki said America has been caught sleeping twice, on Dec. 7, 1941, and on Sept. 11, 2001. "There must not be a third time," he said, “and that's why the VFW will do what we must to force Washington to wake up and destroy this enemy before they strike our homeland. There is no higher nor more immediate national priority."

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March 24, 2016 - Shelby County Judge Allison Harbison signed a proclamation on March 22, 2016 declaring April to be Confederate History and Heritage Month. Members of the Sons of Confederate Veterans Camp 282 were witness to the signing. Below is the proclamation.

From left: Glynn Hartt, Lynn Hartt, Jim Barrett, and Leslie Gill holding "Little T"

Whereas: Texas is a collection of many cultures and heritages united by a common history, and individual heritages and diverse backgrounds; and,

Whereas: Shelby County, Texas saw many of her sons from each of these cultures and heritages engage in honorable and distinguished military service for Texas and for the Confederate States of America; and,

Whereas: The flag of the State of Texas was carried by Texas Confederate soldiers in every major battle of the War Between the States, and the state contributed over 115,000 soldiers and sailors to the service of the Confederate States of American; and,

Whereas: Upon the conclusion of the war, many of these some citizen soldiers again become citizens who worked tirelessly to reunite and rebuild this country and forge reconciliation; and,

Whereas: Knowledge of the role of the Confederate States of America in the history of our state and nation is vital to understanding who we are and what we are; and,

Whereas: We honor our past and from it draw the courage, strength and wisdom to reconcile ourselves and go forward into the future together as Texans and Americans; and,

Whereas: The Capt. Jesse Amason Camp #282 of the Sons of the Confederate Veterans and the Texas Division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans are historical, patriotic and non-political organizations dedicated to ensuring that the true history of the 1861-1865 period is preserved, honoring locally and statewide those who served Texas and the Confederate States of America; and,

Whereas: Confederate Memorial Day, April 26th is an official observance day to honor those who died fighting for the Confederate States of America and the month of April bears significance since it marks both the beginning and the ending of the War Between the States,

Now, therefore: I, as Shelby County Judge do hereby proclaim that April 2016 is "Confederate History and Heritage Month" in Shelby County, Texas, and encourage all residents to increase their knowledge of the history of Shelby County and the State of Texas, and particularly of the role played by Confederate Veterans of all races and ethnic backgrounds in the history of our state and nation.

Proclaimed this 22nd day of March, 2016

Allison Harbison, County Judge

Dr. Danny Paul and Sally Windham provided the musical entertainment for the March meeting of the Golden Harvest Ministries Club.  Members and guests enjoyed local favorites and original songs composed by Danny Paul.

March 22, 2016 - President Joe Anderson called the Golden Harvest Ministries Club meeting to order at 11:30 a.m. on March 21 at the Fellowship Hall of First Baptist Church in Center on our 2nd day of spring.  Easter decorations and spring flowers welcomed 34 members and guests. Rev. Carl Smith led members in hymns for the Easter season ("At Calvary" and "He Lives"). 

Members celebrated Linda Anderson's March birthday and one anniversary was recognized when Bobbie Nutt remembered her husband of 58 years. Visitors were Janette Harvey, Bettie Weeks, and Barbara Cruse.  Ann Forbes shared the prayer report for members and family who were in area hospitals, nursing homes, and other special concerns, as well as those in missions and serving in other countries.

Submitted by Linda Bordelon, Reporter