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August 8, 2023 - Two organizations were the recipients of the 50 Women Impact group’s grant money totaling $10,800 for the third quarter of 2023. Smyrna Kids and the Shelby County Historical Commission each were presented a $5,400 check on Tuesday, August 8.

Shelby County Historical Commission

The Shelby County Historic Courthouse is a registered historic landmark. The S.C. Historical Commission is committed to its upkeep and ensuring its restoration and maintenance. The requested funds will be used for ceiling repair and painting as well as the installation of period appropriate lighting on the first floor of the courthouse. If the courthouse is going to be preserved as a historic site for future generations, repairs and renovations have to be done – funds are needed to make it happen. Success is measured when a historic site is preserved for future generations and not allowed to deteriorate.

Smyrna Kids

50 Women Impact grant funds will be used to sustain and grow Smyrna Kids - a program that is making a difference in the lives of children and families in Shelby County.

Over the course of the last year, Smyrna Community Church's Smyrna Kids, an after-school ministry and Sunday bus rider program, has grown astronomically. In a post-Covid world and at inception, Smyrna Kids typically had 8-10 students who attended faithfully. Now the program averages between 80-100 students each Wednesday after school and 20-40 on weekends. 90% of the students who attend, travel to and from the program on church activity buses. Recently, the church converted its parsonage into more space for classes because the program was quite literally, bursting at the seams. With an operational budget of $0, Smyrna Kids is funded entirely by generous contributions from the community. While it has been tremendously blessed to have such support, it takes every dollar contributed to maintain the program, supply safe transportation, and provide nutritious meals to the participants. While growing numbers are certainly a positive indicator of program success, what is even more important is the impact Smyrna Kids program has had on the students individually, their families and subsequently the community.

August 8, 2023 - Toledo Automotive Supply (Napa) owners and staff celebrated Mike Johnson and his 40 years as an employee of the business and his service to the community on August 8, 2023.

Jasen Watlington commented that his father Cecil Watlington, who was present for the celebration, hired Johnson when he was 45. Before working for Toledo Automotive Supply, Johnson moved to the area from California.

Watlington commented Johnson worked a couple of other jobs before joining Toledo Automotive Supply back then, and he’s been with them ever since. Be sure to stop by Toledo Automotive Supply and congratulate him on his 40 years with the business.

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August 7, 2023 - Pizzeria celebrated with an official Grand Re-opening of their dine-in area on Wednesday, August 2, 2023 by slicing the ribbon provided by the chamber. All attending received a free slice of pizza.

City of Center Mayor David Chadwick and ambassador with the Shelby County Chamber of Commerce said, “Welcome to the Pizzeria again! This is a neat day, a fun day, a day full of memories, a day full of hopes, a day full of appreciation to the Jones family for having such a successful business in our community. I’m old enough to remember when it started, Phillip, with your dad and your mom and your uncle over at Daddy George’s Pizza on the corner and we thought that was the finest dining anybody could ever want because it was the first pizza place in Center, Texas.”

Mayor Chadwick continued reminiscing and then presented the Jones family with an engraved pizza paddle from the Chamber of Commerce in recognition of 50 years in business and service to our community. The Pizzeria is a family owned business since 1972 when Mike Jones first opened the doors.

Phillip Jones is the son of Mike and Cherry Jones and has been employed at Pizzeria since 1994. He recently took over ownership of the family business from his father. Phillip’s main goal is to continue the tradition of providing Shelby County and surrounding areas with great food at reasonable prices.

Phillip announced the addition of chicken to the menu.

He also thanked his general manager, Baileigh Barrera, and thanked all the staff who did the remodel of the dine-in area. They did a great job!

The Pizzeria is located at 225 San Augustine Street, Center, Texas 75935. Editor's note: If you live out in the county or just don't want to eat your pizza as soon as you get home, then order your pizza from Pizzeria uncooked and they will prepare it for you to take home and cook it in your own oven - fresh, hot pizza!

From left: (Back row) Wade Collard, Noah Leonard, Connor McCauley, Cashata Goodwin, Jon Salas, John Ford, T.J. Bolton, Ethan McElroy, (Front row) Chandler Jones, Phillip Jones, Allyssa Jones, Baileigh Barrera, Jaelyn Crawford, and K.K. Parker.

August 7, 2023 - Timpson Area Chamber of Commerce hosted a ribbon cutting event for Bizzy Beez and Party Crashers on Wednesday, August 2, 2023.

Chamber representatives and city residents attended the ribbon cutting event to celebrate with the owners of Bizzy Beez and Party Crashers owners, Hilda and Steve Adams; and Andrea Reed and Michael Reed.

Bizzy Beez has a variety of furniture, and antiques. Andrea Reed described Bizzy Beez as more of a resale, refurbish store and they refurbish wood furniture. They have also opened up the option of customers bringing in their own pieces that they want redone. Items offered will change often as they leave the shelves and other things move into their place.

According to Reed, Party Crashers offers bounce house and water slides. Reed commented that no one locally offered them in Timpson, so now customers will have that local service available. At the opening they have 11 slides available and they plan to have even more by summer 2024. At the time of opening they have one that is 25 feet tall. 

The businesses are open Wednesday - Friday 10am until 4pm and Saturday, 8am until 4pm. For more information call 936-254-4977.

August 7, 2023 - Want to start getting into shape for the Poultry Festival Chicken Trot? Join a Team or Walk Solo in the Shelby County Walk Across Texas sponsored by the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Office.

Walk Across Texas is an eight week program designed to help Texans establish the habit of regular physical activity. It is a program for anyone who wants to use a fun and motivating team approach to being more active. And it is FREE!!

You can sign up on line at, download the app or contact Feleshia Thompson at the Shelby County Extension Office, 598-7744 for help and more information.

The Shelby County Walk Across Texas starts on August 7th and ends on September 25th, just in time for the Chicken Trot!

From left: Gene Hutto, Joy Hutto, Kenneth Ramsey, Jan Ramsey, Mary Fausett, Carolyn Umbrell, Larry Hume, Mike Wulf, Ike Reeves, and Richard Roddy with Maq.

August 2, 2023 - On Thursday morning, July 27, 2023 the VFW Post and Auxiliary commemorated the service and sacrifice of those who served in the Korean War at the Veterans Memorial on the 1885 Historic Courthouse grounds.

VFW Post Surgeon Kenneth Ramsey gave the invocation at the start of the Korean War Armistice memorial.

Mike Wulf, VFW Post Sr. Vice, gave the welcome saying, “Good morning and thank y’all for taking time to join us in remembering the 70th Anniversary of the signing of the peace armistice which ended the Korean War that lasted from June 25, 1950 to July 27, 1953."

Wulf continued, "Seventy years ago today the Korean War ended. Hundreds of thousands of Americans served their country in that war and many gave their lives. Some called the Korean War the forgotten war, but those Americans who served during that time will never be forgotten by the Veterans of Foreign Wars. They served honorably and with distinction. Some called it the Korean Conflict; it was not a conflict, it was a war with 33,686 battle deaths; 2,830 non-battle deaths; 103,000 wounded; and still missing in action from the Korean War are over 7,600 Americans. We can never thank and recognize those who served during this time enough. During the Korean War seven citizens of Shelby County were among those killed in action; one is still missing in action; four others were former prisoners of war.”

A roll call of honor was then done by the Post Auxiliary.

Mary Fausett started with those killed in action: Floyd Harris (September 24, 1950), Clifford Hughes (August 13, 1950); Johnny V. Mena (April 19, 1951); Bobbie F. Mock (November 22, 1950); Billy Clyde Stephenson (November 5, 1952); Leonard Williams (May 18, 1951); and Willie Wilson (May 27, 1951). 

Jan Ramsey then read the names of those who were prisoners of war: Herbert L. Langford, North Korean POW; Pearl D. Lucas, North Korean POW; Billy Lee Westcoat, Chinese POW; and Leonard Scott, North Korean POW.

Joy Hutto read the name of Willie E. Windham who is still missing in action since August 12, 1950.

Members of the audience were then given an opportunity to say the names of Korean War veterans to remember. Ike Reeves, Post Member, said the name of his cousin Charles Willard Reeves, Jr.. Jan Ramsey said the name of Arthur “Red” Baker who was wounded in Korea, her uncle on her mother’s side of the family. Carolyn Umbrell said the name of her husband John Umbrell, Sr. who was wounded in Korea.

The memorial wreath was then placed by Post Member Ike Reeves.

To end the program, Taps was then played by Post Member Gene Hutto for those who gave their lives during the Korean War and those who served and now have passed.

The next patriot gathering will be on August 31st to remember those who served in Operation Iraqi Freedom 2010. 

August 1, 2023 - General Shelters of Texas, LTD and Center Varsity Tennis Team members celebrated the addition of a seating structure to provide protection from the elements for the seating area at the Leon Dykes Tennis Complex at Center High School on August 1, 2023.

A statement was issued by General Shelters in recognition of this event, and it reads as follows: 

“On behalf of the owners and employees of General Shelters of Texas, LTD we are grateful to be able to give back to our local community and schools. In memory of the late Rick Campbell, and as part of the 50th anniversary of General Shelters of Texas, the company and family felt that donating the materials to build the covers for the lower-level seating for the Center High School Tennis Courts would be something that Rick would proudly support.

“Rick, an avid tennis player, graduated from Center High School and went on to play tennis for Tyler Junior College. After college, Rick continued playing tennis and passed on his passion for the sport through his daughter, nieces, and nephew who have all played and had great accomplishments through the Center High School Tennis program.

"We would like to thank Coach Leon Dykes and the Center Athletic Department for their dedication to our local kids and for keeping the program a perennial powerhouse in the State. We would also like to thank the numerous individuals and the Center Tennis Association for contributing to the funds to have the structure constructed on site.”

The structure was completed in February of 2023.

August 1, 2023 - SAKS Of Love is hosting its 4th Annual School Clothes Giveaway on Saturday, August 5, 2023 from 9:30am until 12 noon at 164 Wall Street, Tenaha, Texas.

Free school supplies, new underwear, socks, bras, hair products and accessories, hair style drawings - need stylist, hair cut drawings (free spins for haircuts by Dewayne Garrett), new clothing, gently used clothing and shoes, hygiene bags/sanitizer. Sizes will vary and may not be designer.

Free Sno Cones!

SAKS Of Love accepts donations. Find out more online on Facebook at $SAKSofLove or online at

July 31, 2023 - Sam Samford Lodge in Center honored the Crelia family June 29, 2023, with the Community Builders Award.

Paul Ragan, Worshipful Master, opened the event and Jerry Agnew offered the blessing.

Sammy Arnold spoke of the privilege to be able to be a part of honoring the Crelia family and how helpful James Crelia was to Arnold when he came to Shelby County, especially as a member of the Shelby County Bass Anglers. He commented on growth in the community that he and Crelia have seen, and he explained James Crelia has been intrinsic in helping that growth.

“He’s one of the most civic minded people that you’ll ever meet, he’ll do anything he can to try to improve what we already have,” said Anderson.

Arnold explained that as manager of Few Ready Mix, Crelia’s company has poured innumerable house pads throughout Shelby County and the surrounding area.

“He’s a man of character, he’s a man of dedication, and a man of commitment and last but not least, he’s a man of truth,” said Arnold. “If you ask James something, he’ll tell you the truth.”

Arnold remarked on Crelia an the SCBA helping the Take A Kid Fishing event, which is held every year in Huxley, to grow and be able to provide even more rods, reels and tackle boxes to its participants.

When Arnold first met Sharon Crelia, she was a teacher and taught for 30 years. Arnold said she is very much like her husband in her dedication and commitment to finish what she starts. Arnold commented on Crelia’s influence on the good citizens of the area who she taught when they were in school.

“You can’t reach all the kids, but she did what she could to mould those kids, and make them what they are,” said Arnold.

Arnold stated Philip Crelia exemplified the same dedication as his parents in whatever he sets out to do. He recalled Philip fishing in tournaments with his father, and as the family went into business with Hometown Marina, that’s when he began fishing in “big tournaments.”

“He not only fished a bunch of them, but he won a bunch of them,” said Arnold.

Arnold said the Crelia’s are the model of what he wishes more of the community would be like, and that’s why they were presented with the Community Builders Award.

In recognition of the honor presented to them, the Crelia's received a crystal obelisk, certificate from the lodge, and a certificate from the governor which was signed by Greg Abbott.

July 31, 2023 - A GoFundMe account has been setup for Arthur and Renell Reed who lost their home and all its contents to fire on July 23, 2023. The account was setup by Maria Ratcliff, a niece of the Reeds. According to the GoFundMe account, they lost everything except the clothes on their backs.

Nell has worked at Dairy Queen for many years.

To help, visit

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