Paris Biker Church to host ‘Outside the Walls’ service with free hot dogs on July 26

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On Saturday, July 26, the Paris Biker Church will go ‘Outside the Walls’ to host a worship service – featuring live music, a message and free hot dogs — at Wade Park from 7-8 p.m.

Everyone is welcome and encouraged to attend the event, so bring your friends and family to give praise to our Lord.

The free hot dogs will be served for as long as the supplies last. Live worship music will be performed by the Craig Vance Band.

The idea of ‘Outside the Walls’ — coined by the Paris Biker Church — is an outreach ministry to reach as many as possible, especially those that may not think they ‘fit in’ at a traditional church. It is an attempt to go outside the walls of the norm and inform more people of the Good News of the Lord.

The Paris Biker Church is nondenominational and is located at 3900 Southeast Loop 286. Stop by for more information, and mark your calendars for the ‘Outside the Walls’ service on Saturday, July 26.

Family and friends gather to mourn the tragic loss of Gage Russell Kennedy

A candlelight vigil was held Monday evening as a memorial to Gage Russell Kennedy at the fountain on the downtown Plaza.

Many friends and family members gathered around the Culbertson fountain on Monday for a memorial vigil to mourn the tragic loss and celebrate the life of Russell Gage Kennedy, who went missing on Thursday and was found deceased on Sunday evening. (eParisExtra photo by Josh Allen)

Many friends and family members gathered around the Culbertson fountain on Monday for a memorial vigil to mourn the tragic loss and celebrate the life of Gage Russell Kennedy, who went missing on Thursday and was found deceased on Sunday evening. (eParisExtra photo by Josh Allen)

Many friends, family members, teachers and those that the young man touched through life attended, lighting a candle to represent the ‘eternal flame’ of his memory

Kennedy was known for his bright, constant smile and good spirit and attitude. A student at North Lamar High School, the 18-year old was known for his laugh by his close friends — friends who said it was a laugh that they would never forget.

“I always loved to see Gage’s smile when I’d see him walking down the halls,” North Lamar High School Principal Clint Hildreth said. “He had that kind of smile that could light up a room. He will be missed.”

The candlelight vigil was held at 5 p.m. and was organized by his fellow classmates and friends, students of North Lamar High School.

As close friends of Kennedy’s each shared stories with the crowd about his spirit, his laugh and the kind of person he was, reminiscing on the many good times they all shared, it became apparent that he had made a positive impression on many, touching the lives of those he had become close to.

A close uncle to Gage said that he was the rock of his family, always taking good care of his mother and his siblings. They’ve had some hard times, and without Gage they probably feel lost. We will all miss him, he said.

Kennedy had gone missing on Thursday, last being seen at 10:30 p.m. His body was later found alongside a rail spur between the streets of 10th NW and W. Center by a person walking along the railroad track. Upon making the discovery the individual immediately called police.

“Mr. Kennedy was tentatively identified by a family member who came to the scene after seeing police activity,” Paris Police Chief Bob Hundley said in a press release on Monday.

An autopsy has been ordered and results are pending. On Monday, Chief Hundley said, “There were no visible injuries to the deceased.”

An official manner of death has not been released yet, but police say the investigation is continuing. If you have any kind of information regarding this case, please call the police department at (903) 784-6688.

Please keep the family, friends and those struggling with this loss in your thoughts and prayers. Caring community support is crucial and helpful for those that are mourning this tragic loss.

There will also be a memorial service at the North Lamar High School auditorium on Wednesday at 3 p.m.

By Josh Allen, eParisExtra

Dylan’s Driver wants you

Paul Allen, Executive Director of Dylan's Drivers

Paul Allen, Executive Director of Dylan’s Drivers

Dylan’s Drivers, the program designed to prevent drunk driving by giving people free rides home, has given just over 3,600 rides since it was launched here two and half years ago. The service is non-judgment and fun and is available Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights from 10pm to 3am. However, the program is now examining whether or not to continue Thursday service due the inability to get volunteers to work the shift despite having hundreds and hundreds of trained volunteers.

“It’s just a difficult night for volunteers. They have school or work the next day and that makes it tough,” said Ronnie Ballard, chairman of the Dylan’s Drivers board. When asked if there were enough rides given on Thursday night to justify it, Paul Allen, executive director responded, “Yes, we give 6 to 10 rides on average on Thursday nights, it’s just that we are always scrambling around to line up Thursday night volunteers and a lot of times we don’t get commitments until that day, or worse Ronnie and Vickie [Ballard] have to step up again. There’s a need for Thursday night volunteers, we just need to train more or have those that are trained willing to step up on Thursday nights. Otherwise, we risk not being able to do it.”

Despite scheduling challenges for Thursdays, the success of the program continues to grow. At the recent board meeting Allen announced that the average age rider continues to drop. While Dylan’s Drivers is completely anonymous, it does try to keep track of two statistics, the location where rides are originating from, and how old the rider is (even if it is a guess by the volunteers). The average age this past month was 26, the youngest average since the service was launched.

This statistic is very important to the organization for many reasons, but most specifically since the program’s namesake Dylan Ballard was a teen when he and his three friends were in a deadly alcohol related crash that killed Ballard and another teen. Another recent alcohol related accident that left two teens dead caused much reflection by the board and its founders. “We know we are doing the right thing,” said one board member. “We have kept 3,600 people from getting behind the wheel that clearly knew they shouldn’t, so that’s great. But we have to better get our message to the younger kids.”

Dylan’s Drivers knew that gaining the trust of underage drinkers was going to be a challenge from the very beginning. Walker Clark, son of founding board member Mary Clark, told her when she first posed the concept to him, “Mom, if parents are the ones coming to pick you up, nobody is going to call.” It is for this reason that Dylan’s Drivers keeps putting out the message over and over, “It’s safe, it’s anonymous, and it’s non-judgmental.” The number one thing the organization cares about is getting those kids home safe. Over time, the message will resonate among the teenagers. Until then, Dylan’s Drivers keeps on giving rides home.

Dylan’s Drivers has also been voted a finalist in the Safeco Insurance “Make more happen” contest, winning $3,000. It is now in the finals to win $10,000. You can help. Click the link below and vote for Dylan’s Drivers. It takes less than 10 seconds and Dylan’s Drivers could win $10,000. http://www.safeco.com/about-safeco/community/make-more-happen-vote?dc=MMHDylansDrivers 

Share this link with as many of your friends as possible and post on your facebook pages.

If you are willing to be a volunteer, especially if you can help on Thursday nights, contact Paul Allen at Dylan’s Drivers paul@dylansdrivers.org.

Upcoming Rodeo Sign-up’s for Mutton Bustin’ and JR Barrels are Today

CrimestoppersRodeo_26In preparation for the 55th Annual Paris Rodeo, TODAY (April 28th) is the day for JR Event contestants to sign-up.  Ages 6 & under Mutton Bustin’ and 10 & under JR Barrels contestants can sign up today 9am-3pm by calling 903-782-9000.  The rodeo will run Friday May 2nd and Saturday May 3rd at 8pm and Sunday May 4th at 2:30pm.
All other contestants can sign-up through the contractor office by calling 903-346-3972 between 1pm-10pm today.

Scouts lend helping hands to Kiwanis

Scouts gather for a group photo while helping out at the 2014 Kiwanis Pancake Days. (Submitted photo)

Scouts gather for a group photo while helping out at the 2014 Kiwanis Pancake Days. (Submitted photo)

Boy scouts from Troop 11 and cub scouts from Pack 12, in an effort to continue their service to our community, volunteered to lend helping hands to the Kiwanis organization in early March at their annual — and very popular — Pancake Days fundraiser.

The scouts helped by clearing tables and making sure that there was enough syrup on each table for everyone to enjoy, and after all the pancakes were served, they helped the remaining Kiwanians break down the tables and fold all the chairs.

Troop 11 is comprised of local boy scouts between the ages 11-18, while Pack 12 is made up of cub scouts in the 1st-5th grades.

This year marked the 63rd year in a row for the Kiwanis Pancake Days fundraiser, which raises roughly $50,000 a year for local Kiwanis programs and activities.

The all-you-can-eat, 3-day event was first held in 1951 and served a few hundred people. Since then, the event has grown to serve thousands of pancake lovers.

Certainly the help from the scouts was very appreciated by Kiwanis members.