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The Paris Independent School District board of trustees is scheduled to consider hiring an athletic director at Monday’s meeting.
“We interviewed four candidates Wednesday,” Superintendent Paul Jones said. “The committee will meet Monday morning and either name a finalist or choose to continue the search. We went ahead and put it on the board agenda just in case. I’m confident that we will name a finalist Monday.”
The session is set for 5:30 p.m. in the Paris High School commons area. The meeting was moved from the administration building to accommodate crowds expected for staff and student recognition.
Barry Bowman resigned as the head football coach and athletic director of Paris High School in late April after he was offered the job of defensive coordinator at Pine Tree High School in Longview.
Monday’s agenda also includes the first workshop for next year’s budget.
New Hope Center of Paris will host a free information session on community building from The Texas Homeless Network next month.
The session, which covers the issues of developing community collaboration and building effective coalitions, is set for 9 a.m. to noon June 11 at the Red River Region Business Incubator, located across from Kroger at 1445 Clarksville St.
This workshop is designed for case managers, and administrators of social service agencies and direct service agencies.
Using an open and informative format, Training Manager Kris Linenberger will address effective collaboration to help clients affected by homelessness. Linenberger will explain why agencies need to collaborate, and why it is beneficial for the whole community. Linenberger has been with THN in the community building role for the last two years and works to prepare agencies around the state to service their homeless populations.
Balance of State Director Eric Samuels will also discuss successful coalition building, which is key in linking communities with resources and effectively serving a targeted population. Samuels has more than five years of community resource building experience working around the state.
Both Samuels and Linenberger work the Balance of State territory, which includes over 210 counties across Texas.
A volunteer group praying for area students is looking for more people willing to bow their heads.
“I think the message has got to go out that we need more prayers for the students we’ve got coming in with the seniors going out,” Kay Holleman said at a recent meeting of the committee that coordinates the prayer effort.
There are currently 1,360 people praying for 1,473 students in North Lamar, Paris, Chisum and Roxton – including all the juniors and seniors and most of the sophomore. Many volunteers are praying for more than one student. Now the group is looking for new volunteers and seeing if they can persuade more to take on an additional student.
They have about 40 church and school contacts they work with to promote the effort and attract new volunteer prayers.
“I’m going to start all over. I’m going back to challenge them to take up another name,” Marion Parker said. This is a critical situation for our community, that we intercede on behalf of these kids.”
Mike Long, a veteran educator and one of the effort’s organizers, noted a girl in class who seemed to be having a rough time. She wasn’t being prayed for at the time.
“The Lord provided a new prayer who took this little girl,” he said. “This has been a blessing to her life already.”
He mentioned another student who had moved away to South Texas who recently came back. The first time he saw Long, the student didn’t ask how he was or what he had been doing. Instead he asked if the volunteer who had been praying for him still was.
“I said, ‘He sure is,’” Long said. “He said, ‘Good. Tell him not to stop.’”
It all started in March 2011 with six volunteers. By that summer, they had 100 volunteers.
“Some of those kids have been prayed for over 700 times,” Long said. “All our hearts are breaking for kids. They’ve got so much going on.”
Each volunteer gets a card that serves as a reminder to pray. They place it somewhere to keep that reminder in front of them — sun visors, fruit bowls, refrigerators, wallets.
It’s not a mentor program like Big Brothers Big Sisters. The prayers know little about the students they bow their heads for.
“I thank you, Lord. I thank you for blessing us with this burden,” Long said in a closing prayer at the meeting. “We celebrate these 700 days of your faithfulness.”
The $85,000 settlement in the city’s lawsuit against an asbestos contractor over damage to the Grand Theater downtown has been finalized.
“We had estimated our total damages a little over $100,000, but mediation is about weighing your chances of winning everything you want at trial versus getting nothing at trial,” City Attorney Kent McIlyar said.
The City Council approved the settlement in March. Now the “check was received and deposited. Case closed,” McIlyar said.
Part of the old theater’s roof collapsed in November 2011 during a heavy rainstorm. The city says that 911 Restoration stuffed plastic sheeting into the roof drain while removing asbestos, but didn’t remove the plastic afterwards. Rain collected on the roof with nowhere to go, and the weight caused part of it to collapse.
The contractor maintains that the building’s old age and roof supports led to the collapse.
McIlyar said 911 Restoration hired a professional engineer to review the damages to the Grand Theater roof and lobby. Based on that information, the contractor said it would cost less to repair the theater than what the city figured, “and that would have been another thing the jury would have had to weigh at trial.”
“All things considered, we were very pleased with the $85,000 settlement that we obtained at mediation,” he said. “These funds will be used to restore the damaged section of the Grand Theater roof and to repair some of the other damage caused by the roof collapse.”
The city plans to begin some minor demolition next week so Paul Denney with Denney Architects can get measurements and other information on the existing building behind the old plaster walls. That data will help with getting bids on repairs, City Engineer Sean Napier said.
“We are also working on removing the sign so it can be rebuilt,” he said.
City officials have estimated that repairs could be completed by the end this year. The restoration is being funded by a Certified Local Government grant from the U.S. Department of the Interior, National Parks Service, and administered by the Texas Historical Commission.
The Grand Theater was originally constructed as a vaudeville theater shortly after the Great Fire of 1916. The present façade was constructed in 1937 as part of a major remodeling.
A number of Paris’ youngest bicycle enthusiasts are a little safer today thanks to Saturday’s Bicycle Rodeo.
“It’s really great. I started this project to promote bicycle safety,” said Sahil Prakash, a sixth-grade Crockett Middle School student who engineered the event at Love Civic Center. “The earlier you learn bike safety, the better you get it.”
The rodeo started with Sahil’s first-place Texas Future Problem Solving winner Project BIKE (Preventing Bike Injuries Keeping Everyone Safe), a program designed to encourage and promote bike riding and safety.
His efforts received attention from much of the community, including Lamar-Delta County Medical Association, Texas Medical Association, Transform North Texas, the police and fire departments and the Texas Department of Transportation. He even took his presentation to the Paris City Council.
It also earned his parents’ approval.
“He’s worked very hard for the last year. The best part for me is knowing he’s got the giving attitude. He’s doing this for the community,” father Dr. Chris Prakash said. “It’s a good start. Hopefully, he’ll keep this going for the next several years.”
Chilly, windy weather kept the numbers down somewhat, but that didn’t keep it from being a success. Sahil said he enjoyed seeing the people learning bicycle safety and working together toward a common goal.
“This will be an annual event. This was a trail. I’ll know how to make it bigger and better,” Sahil said. “I learned I can do it in a bigger area, maybe a parking lot. I learned I can have more courses. This one went through pretty quick. I’ll get more donations and more helmets.”
The courses included a straightaway, slalom and a zig-zag where bikers practiced turning signals and stopping.