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Around Town

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From left: Dr. Greg Powell and Rotary President Hollie Adams

March 12, 2019 - Dr. Greg Powell, Panola College President, spoke at the Center Rotary Club meeting on Tuesday, March 5, 2019 about the college which has an enrollment of around 2,800 students.

"Nineteen years ago we had 1,400 students. So, we have just about doubled. 68% of our students are female and the average age is 22. And I will tell you for the first time, at least in the past 19 years, the plurality of our students come from Shelby County. It has always been Panola County but this year 26% of our students come from Shelby County, 23% from Panola, Harrison 15%, Rusk 9%, Nacogdoches 5% and it goes down from there. Last year about 54% of our students were in one of our technical program and we saw a pretty big shift this year. This year its 53% are in our academic transfer programs and they intend on earning a four-year degree," explained Dr. Powell.

"Panola College has been a leader in online learning and distance learning for a number of years, at least for the past decade. It surprises me that we have 349 separate distinct courses that are available online and 75% of our students take at least one online class. I think we have 7 full degrees that are available online.

"We have rolled out about 1,800 students in our workforce and continuing ed. I know that we have done a number of projects with companies here in Shelby County whether it is General Shelters, or Tyson, or Portacool."

Dr. Powell addressed the increase in tuition which is directly influenced by the decrease in money from the state which is around 18%. In relation to the number of Shelby County students attending Panola College, Dr. Powell said, "During this year 2018-2019, Shelby County students received Panola College scholarships, I'm not talking about the generous scholarships from Shelby County like Bone Hill and others, I'm talking about Panola College itself awarded $332,708 to 363 students from Shelby County."

"We really do value and appreciate the partnership Panola College has with Shelby County whether its the facilities or the Bone Hill contributions among others. And I think it has allowed us to do so much more here than any other county," stated Dr. Powell. He spoke about the improvements which have been recently made at the Shelby County Panola College site.

Currently the college is going through their Southern Association for Colleges and Schools (SACS) reaffirmation. He spoke about intercollegiate athletics and the successes are having this year highlighting the Rodeo Team. He highlighted new construction including the new student center and new health and natural sciences building. He mentioned renovation of the library several years back which students are greatly utilizing for its study rooms. New potential projects mentioned included the music department and technology department.

March 11, 2019 - While writing about women who have made an impact in the community, the Mother of all times can not be forgotten: Mrs. Ruby Lister Biggers.

She was a mother of one, Karl, but all the students who passed through her English classes at Daniels High School and later at Center High were considered hers as she was another great teacher that the Daniels students loved. Her technique of teaching her students to memorize poems, sonnets, etc. paid off because its inspiring to know that many of the students to this day can recite those same poems. Students have done so at several of the Daniels Alumni Reunions. 

She finished from Daniels High and further her education at Butler College in Tyler, transferred to Prairie View where she received her B.S. Degree and continued school until she received her Masters Degree. A believer in continuing education she did post graduate work at Texas Southern University in Houston and attended many work shops while working with the gifted and talented classes. Again, to support the community, many of her students won honors in speaking, spelling and essay writing in contests. Her belief that education was important passed down to her only son, Karl, because he graduated from Center High with honors and went on to college to obtain degrees for a financial career - Bachelors at SMU in Dallas and MBA at University of Texas in Austin. He presently lives in Dallas.

While an instructor at Daniels, Mrs. Ruby along with other teachers and students produced the only Bobcat yearbook’ which later was seen on social media. I assisted with the request to place Daniels High School as an entry to classmate.com, a website holding information for listing classmates of schools in various worldwide cities. Center High was the only school in Center on the site before Daniels High was added. Thanks again to Mrs. Ruby for having that book put together because it provided proof that the now closed school, Daniels High, existed and the school was added. The response has been great and many students' names can be found in that website: ' classmates.com. Try it and add your name so generations after us can keep the legacy alive by viewing the many students who passed through Daniels School. 

Mrs. Biggers was not only an educator but she had great concerns for her community. She was a city councilwoman in Center for many years and had input on many improvements in the City while in office. Mrs. Biggers served the community in other areas as well including Center Chamber of Commerce, Toledo Bend Retired Teachers, Center Historical Commission, and Shelby County Museum. She was a member of Bright Morning Star Church where she served as Sunday School Teacher, Chairman of Deaconess Board, and Church Secretary.

So you see her dedication as a teacher and a community service worker is highly appreciated and should be acknowledged as one of the historical African American Women of Center.

March 6, 2019 - March has been declared "Texas History Month" by the Texas Legislature. In observation of Alamo Heroes Day, March 6, the William Carroll Crawford Chapter of the Daughters of the Republic of Texas presented a book, "Susanna of the Alamo," to the Fannie Brown Booth Library in Center. "Susanna" was Susanna Wilkerson Dickinson who, along with her infant daughter Angelina, were among the women and children who survived the battle of the Alamo. After the fall of the Alamo they were allowed to go to Sam Houston and spread the word of the battle. "Remember the Alamo" became the rallying call of the Texians as they continued the battle for independence. Presenting the book to Library Director Sandra Davis were DRT members Merle Howard, Vickie Martin, JJ Ford and Maggie Casto.

March 6, 2019 - The first meeting of the Morale Boosters - Proactive Support Group hosted by the Shelby County Cancer Fund was held on the first Tuesday of March with guest speaker Jheri-Lynn McSwain addressing 'Do You Know What You Are Eating?'

McSwain is with Texas A&M AgriLife, Shelby County Extension Agent - Family and Community Health. She spoke about factors that impact the foods that we purchase and gave definitions or descriptions of common words found on food packages and what they really mean. McSwain's goal for the meeting was to help attendees know what they are buying when shopping for food.

Research shows for people in the United States who are shopping for food, they often times select based on convenience, price, taste, and healthfulness. Convenience being the number one factor can often leads to poor choices for your health.

McSwain finished by encouraging everyone not to just read the front of a products packaging but ask yourself what are you concerned with? Be sure to read the nutrition facts panel and the ingredients list. Do some research and understand the definition of a claim on the package.

A good online source for additional information is Texas A&M AgriLife Extension - https://agrilifeextension.tamu.edu/programs/family-community-health/. Texas A&M AgriLife Extension’s Family and Community Health (FCH) unit helps Texans better their lives through science-based educational programs designed to improve the overall health and wellness of individuals, families, and communities. Programs featured on their website at this time include: Physical Activity, Nutrition, Diabetes Management, Weight Control, etc.

The next meeting of Morale Boosters is set for the first Tuesday in April which is April 2nd at 6pm. The meeting will be held at First Baptist Church in Center with a program about Gardening.

February 25, 2019 — Texas Woman’s University released its dean's list for the Fall 2018 semester and Konnor Windham of Shelbyville was listed. Windham is majoring in Family Studies and is a 2017 Center High School graduate.

Undergraduate students who complete at least 12 graded credit hours and achieve at least a 3.5 grade point average are eligible for the deans’ list.

To view the full list of students named on the Dean's list and on the Chancellor's list, click here.

March 4, 2019 - Women's History Month began Friday, March 1 and ends Sunday, March 31, 2019. Many activities recognizing women will be scheduled throughout the states. It is a month long celebration of women's contribution to history, culture and society. It began in 1987 after several events occurred of this nature and finally a bill passed to make it a nationwide event. With this in mind, I submit my first article about my aunt, Mary Kindle Lovell Greer in her memory.

Mary K Lovell Greer was the oldest of her eight brothers and sisters raised by her parents Vince and Lottie Kindle. She attended Daniels High School, Prairie View University for the bachelor of science and master's of education degrees. She had two daughters (both deceased). Mary's first teaching job was at East Hamilton school for $50 a month and continued to teach in several places 43 years until retirement. However it was not a real retirement because for 17 years after retirement she worked with adult education teaching the elderly to read and write, and she cared for the sick.

Mary and her family lived in the rural area called Africa for many years. She owned cattle and always had productive gardens. Mary worked for the Bright Morning Star Church as secretary and she was a member there since she was nine.

Mary received five awards for her volunteer services and she served as the vice president of Loop 500 Homemakers Club. She is one to remember who made a big impact to the cultural and society of the community. Many Center residents are saying, "I remember Mrs. Mary. She was a great teacher." The Kindle Family will have the first reunion of the descendants of Vince and Lottie Kindle in Center in June of this year.

March 1, 2019 - The Rotary Club of Center welcomed its newest member Yogesh Kumar Gorkhali during their Tuesday, February 26, 2019 meeting. Mr. Gorkhali, who is known in the community as Mr. Yogi, is a business owner in Center and is excited to be a part of the organization.

Hollie Adams, Rotary Club President, presented Mr. Gorkhali with his welcome packet and membership certificate.

The Rotary Club of Center meets at noon every Tuesday at the John D. Windham Civic Center. The club was organized May 26, 1925 and has been a part of the community ever since. The most notable fundraiser the club hosts is the What-A-Melon Festival which is held the second weekend in July. Proceeds from the festival enable the club to assist with community project, non-profit organizations, and scholarships for area seniors.

February 27, 2019 - All of us here at Shelby County Outreach Ministries, Inc. would like to extend our greatest appreciation to everyone involved in our Steel Building Fundraiser. For those who helped get it together, sell tickets, and bought tickets, we couldn’t have done it without you! We are humbled by all the support we get from our wonderful community.

We would like to thank General Shelters for working with us on this fundraiser. We are gracious and hope to collaborate with you in the future. We would also like to extend our gratitude to the Fundraiser Committee here at Shelby County Outreach Ministries, Inc. for taking time out of their busy schedule and helping out in various ways. We want to acknowledge one individual in particular for all the hard work and dedication he has put into each of our fundraisers and that is Mr. Sammy Arnold. We are blessed to have him and each of the members of the Committee. 

The winner of the Steel Building was James Blue. Congratulations to Mr. Blue and thank you for purchasing a ticket from us! Enjoy the building. 

Shelby County Outreach Ministries, Inc.

February 26, 2019 - The SCCAC would like to thank everyone who helped make this year's Princess Ball a success! It was a wonderful evening, made possible only through the generous support of businesses and individuals in our community.

We would like to thank this year's sponsors and donors: As You Wish Photography, Boom Boom Photo Booth, Brookshires, Center High School Culinary Arts Department, Cline Family Medicine, Cornerstone Construction, Dazzle Me Pink & Blue, Don and Janene Walker, Farmers State Bank, Few Ready Mix, Gaspar Nieto, GCS Cakes by Cindy Metteauer, Hughes Florist, Kayla Parker Photography, Nix Forest Industries Inc., Premium Graphics & Design, Quickstop Stores, Shelby Savings Bank, Snell Photography, Texas Glacier Ice, and Trails End Grocery & RV.

We would also like to thank our tireless volunteers who worked hard to make everything look beautiful for our guests of honor. We appreciate you all so much!

February 22, 2019 - Timpson Masonic Lodge #437 honored the wives and widows of Masonic members with a Valentine's Day banquet during their February meeting.

Larry Molloy, Worshipful Master, opened the meeting, "I would like to welcome everybody here to Timpson Lodge #437 and our annual Wives, Widows Sweetheart Celebration and I now declare this meeting open."

To start the meeting he recognized Deputy Grand Matron of District 4, Section 1, Ms. Deneice Marshall and all the ladies of the Eastern Star in attendance.

Standing is Deputy Grand Matron of District 4, Section 1, Ms. Deneice Marshall

"These ladies do a lot for the Lodge here in Timpson those that's in the local chapter and all the ladies do a lot for the Eastern Star Chapters all across Texas and they deserve a special thanks. Thank you ladies," expressed Molloy. Everyone then gave a long round of applause.

A Mason widow present was asked to rise for a special honor. Ms. Bobbie Williams was then escorted to the west side of the alter by Senior Deacon Burt Coan. Molloy greeted Ms. Williams, "On behalf of the Timpson Lodge, we have this lapel pin for you with the symbol of the broken column on it." She expressed her appreciation and that she would enjoy wearing it.

From left: Larry Molloy, Bobbie Williams, and Burt Coan

"Gentlemen, I would like you to look around at these ladies. This is their day. We celebrate them on Valentine's Day... our wives, widows, sweethearts, mothers, sisters, daughters. And its because of them that we are able to restrain ourselves as men... their compassion, their kindheartedness, all make us better Masons and better men," said Molloy before requesting a round of applause.

Brother Jamie Beasley and Danny Arvello then handed out roses and chocolates as a small token of appreciation from the Timpson Lodge.

Before the meeting ended, Ms.Deneice Marshall said, "I will tell you that Timpson Chapter is one of the most inspiring chapters because they do a lot in their community, a lot more than some of the larger chapters. I'm sure that your lodge members do too, what a treat it is for me to be here tonight."

Molloy ended with appreciation, "We appreciate again for everybody coming. We appreciate the Eastern Star, we appreciate all these Masons that are here tonight, and the things that they do for the community."