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Monster Trucks Night of Thrills Spectacular hit the rodeo arena at Red River Valley Fairgrounds on Saturday, featuring motocross races and Monster Jam trucks such as Reptoid, Predator, Prowler and Outta Control. Each truck has about 1,700 horsepower and weighs more than 10,000 pounds and is capable of jumping about 30 feet in the air. Before the show, all ticket holders had access to the “Pit Party,” where they got to get up close to trucks and drivers, take pictures and get autographs.
This year’s Lamar County Relay for Life was one for the record books with more than 40 teams participating – the most ever.
“This is our stellar year,” said event Chair Carolyn Lockett. “You all are the reason why.
This year’s relay was the 11th for Lamar County and drew more than 400 people. Volunteers put more than 10 months of work into making it a success. This year’s theme was “Paris 500…Lamar County Race For A Cure.”
“This is a pretty emotional time for me,” Lockett said as her voice cracked. She said some call her a cry baby at Relay for Life. “But that’s OK because these are tears of joy.”
Pastor Shannon Mcguire from Orange Chapel Baptist Church in Arthur City gave the invocation.
“We pray for research. We pray that a cure for this disease would be found,” he said. “We pray that tonight would be a success.”
Members of the church’s choir sang “God Bless America” and other selections.
Each relay has a guest survivor message. This year’s came from 14-year-old Amanda Berry. Berry, who will be a freshman at Paris High School and the mascot, was diagnosed with brain cancer at the age of 10. It was treatable, though. It did damage her pituitary gland, requiring lifelong medication.
“I have a great crew to get me through the race,” she said, mentioning God, Jesus, family, friends, doctors and nurses. “Thank you for supporting Relay for Life 500. And in the spirit of NASCAR: Boogety, boogety, boogety, let’s go walking, people.”
The event started with a survivor lap for those who had beaten cancer, then caregivers. Teams made a little parade around the track, and then the relay began in earnest.
Many of the early songs being played had fight themes like Survivor’s “Eye of the Tiger,” or were about walking, like “Walk This Way” by Run DMC and Aerosmith, “Walk of Life” by the Dire Straits and the Pretenders’ “500 Miles.”
Many teams had shirts with messages that proclaimed their reasons for participating, such as: “I am hope,” “There’s no finish line until we find a cure,” “Fight for a cure,” “Fight like a girl” and “Never give up.”
“I am here relaying because I want to see more birthdays,” Lockett said. “I have grandchildren I don’t want to ever have to hear those dreaded words: ‘You have cancer.’ I am relaying for research.”
Rather than get entangled in the transportation department’s requirements for a loan to widen Highway 24, the Paris Economic Development Corp. has elected to pay its $1.45 million share in cash.
“Should we just pay the $1.45 million to TxDOT and not have any obligation and get them out of our business?” PEDC Director Steve Gilbert said during a special meeting Friday.
Texas Department of Transportation has indicated such an arrangement is workable. Many of the details are still being finalized in the agreement. The Sulphur River Regional Mobility Authority hopes to have it all settled in less than two months.
TxDOT will fund most of the $38.6 million project to widen Highway 24 to four lanes in Delta County. SuRRMA has taken a loan from TxDOT’s State Infrastructure Bank to pay for the remaining $4.5 million.
Using a SIB loan is a fairly common practice. But where most regional authorities have toll revenue to pay them back on their own, SuRRMA relies on funding from other regional bodies to pay for the loan – Delta County, Cooper, Paris, Lamar County and PEDC.
PEDC delayed a resolution at a previous meeting that would have solidified its repayment obligation. The resolution had a great deal of language governing PEDC’s debt. TxDOT wanted to make sure payments for the highway project remained on an equal footing with any other debt PEDC might take on. It started largely with existing bond debt the corporation is paying off after an old deal with Paris Packaging.
PEDC had looked at a defeasance process that would remove the bonds from its books, putting $2.37 million in an escrow account for a third party to pay it out.
“The TxDOT lawyers have put a lot of restrictive language in that resolution,” Gilbert said. “They could basically control our ability to do or not do something like the deal with Paris Packaging.”
The defeasance would get the debt off of PEDC’s books, but the cost might not have made it a good deal, Board President Pike Burkhart said. Today’s low interest rates meant it made more sense to pay it out rather than put more than $2 million into an account.
Plus, he said, it wouldn’t gain much for the economic development corporation on the TxDOT side, because the state agency would still want the same restrictions on future debt.
The defeasance would simplify the resolution, Gilbert noted.
“Would that keep them from hamstringing us?” Board member Douglas Wehrman asked.
“No,” Gilbert replied.
If the project winds up coming in under budget, PEDC won’t get any kind of refund. Instead, any leftover funds would be applied to the SIB loan, lowering the payments for the city and county.
“But if there is a cost overrun, we would pay a pro rata share of the overrun,” Gilbert said. “That’s been on the table since the beginning.”
The move did require a $1.45 million amendment for the current budget to pull the money from reserves and pay TxDOT.
In other business, the board:
Today is the day for the Paris 500…Lamar County’s Race for a Cure. It will start at 7pm at North Lamar’s R.L. Maddox stadium and go all night, until 5am on Saturday.
With 40 teams — that’s right, FORTY — already registered for this year’s event, making that over 400 participants, it is surely to be a huge one. With online contributions and team’s fundraising, there has been well over $30,000 raised in these weeks leading up to Relay!
There are many fun activities to go with the relaying that are planned for the big night, as well as food, beverages, prize drawings, dancing, etc. Cancer survivors will be there to tell stories of their battles. With Luminaria bags and/or custom ‘ memory’ quilts and t-shirts — as well as other things — you can honor and remember those that have been lost.
For those that are participating, don’t forget that there is a meeting for Team Captains & Committee Members at the stadium at 5:30pm on the night of Relay. Here very important things will be discussed, final questions will be answered if there are any, and supplies, programs and things you will need will be given to you. Make sure if you are a team captain that you make this meeting.
Also at this meeting and the Relay event, bring all of your Luminaria bags. Even if they are not decorated bring them all.
The final program and a ‘program insert’ of activities are also below. Just click on the link. It will have a list of all the activities, fundraisers, participating teams, Mr. Relay contestants, games, drawings, etc. This is all the info that you will need to know what is going on at Relay.
For those of you who will have activities or games on Friday night. Please write out the activity and any instructions on an index card to give to Wyatt Bowden at Relay. He will be running the production of the event and will need this information throughout the night.
Below is a link to the Campsite Setup document. This will show campers the layout of the stadium and where they are to set up for the night. It also shows the location of the stage, survivors tent, cart path, etc.
Here is a document on ‘What to Bring to Relay’. This will provide you with information on the various things that you will need for a night of fundraising and fun.
American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life is a worldwide fundraising organization that is focused on raising funds for cancer support and to one day find a cure for this awful disease, as well as remember and honor all those that have fought it. Many cities and communities in the country year around to raise money for this cause. Lamar County always participates in Relay for Life and we always give it our all, but this year we’ve done even more and made it even bigger than ever.
According to one of the event coordinators, Molly Woodall, “We are going to have the best Relay Lamar County has ever had!”
A big ‘thank you’ is extended to everyone in the community that has come together this year to make this another great Relay and a very special event for Lamar County. Many local businesses and community members have been working tirelessly for months and weeks leading up to this day to raise funds and awareness for Relay. This is another great time to stop and recognize the very large ‘Heart of Paris’.
Article by Josh Allen/Managing Editor – eParis Extra!
In the past two weeks, Paris Police Department has had several complaints of windows being shot out of vehicles with BB guns or Pellet Guns in all parts of the city. At this time, it is unknown who is responsible for these vandalisms. These criminal acts have resulted in several thousand dollars in damages.
If anyone has any information on this crime, they are urged to contact Crime Stoppers.
Persons with information about this, or any other crime can contact Crime Stoppers 24 hour’s day- 7 days a week now 4 different ways and remain anonymous…