Adult ESL Classes Extended

United WayThe United Way announced that the ESL Classes will be continuing through June 27.

In Paris classes are offered at the Givens Family Center, 655 MLK Jr. Drive from 8:30am-11:30am, Monday-Thursday.

For more information contact Susan Sanchez at 903-782-0424.

Lamar County Spring Trash-Off this Saturday


Judge Superville stands in front of a pile of tires collected from last year’s Trash-Off. Photo provided by Jimmy Don Nicholson.

It’s that time of year once again! Step away from your calendar, you didn’t forget a holiday (though, just in case you did, Easter is on Sunday!). Rather, it’s time to get up, get dressed and help make Lamar County a little more beautiful. How, you may ask? This Saturday, April 19th, “Keep Paris Beautiful-Make Lamar County Shine” will once again sponsor its annual Spring Trash-Off. Everyone is invited to participate.

The event (held in the spring and fall) has been a part of Lamar County for over a decade, but many may still not be aware of its existence or even its purpose. To explain, let’s briefly go back a few years, to 1985. Seeking to combat littering on Texas roadways, the Texas Department of Transportation launched a statewide anti-litter campaign known as “Don’t mess with Texas.” This slogan has become well-known in Texas throughout the years, appearing on bumper stickers, highway signs, and even in celebrity-endorsed television ads. Since its inception, the campaign has helped to significantly reduce the amount of litter and debris on Texas roadways.

Each year, as part of this campaign, TxDOT hosts the “Don’t mess with Texas Trash-Off.” Anyone and everyone who is willing and able can participate in this program. The official date for this spring’s event was April 4th, but the dates vary across the state, depending on the individual communities.

Jimmy Don Nicholson is the Community Service Coordinator for the Adult Probation Office. According to him, each year, the office receives a letter signed by all four Lamar County judiciaries. This letter requests that all probationers ordered to perform community supervision restitution be required to report to the Trash-Off. As an incentive, they are offered double community service hours’ credit- “two for one,” Nicholson said.

Court-ordered community service workers will sign in at 7 a.m. and will work either until noon or until all of the assignments are completed in a satisfactory manner. Everyone involved will leave with a feeling of accomplishment.

“It has been my experience that probationers leave feeling that they had made a difference in the appearance of our roadsides and community trails,” Nicholson said. “This is a service that we are glad to provide for the entire county.”

“However, even though the majority of those cleaning up the roads and streets will be probationers, everyone can play their part in this cleanup event. Volunteers are still needed and very much appreciated!

“Everyone is invited to come and participate. Some civic volunteers may want to carry a group of probationers out to a roadside cleanup site and this assistance is welcomed,” Nicholson said. “Roadside cleanup locations are not limited to those being offered by [‘Keep Paris Beautiful-Make Lamar County Shine’].”

Those wishing to participate and volunteer their assistance can’t expect to sleep in. Volunteers can arrive and sign in at 7:30 a.m. at the KPB/MLCS table, in the Home Depot parking lot. Here, they will receive assignment folders and trash bags. They may be picking up trash, but that doesn’t mean they can’t have fun doing it.

“Persons should pick a trashy roadside and come to [a] gathering point and team up with a group and go have fun cleaning it up!” Nicholson said.

Naturally, safety is a top priority to everyone involved, so safety meetings for both probationers and crew members will occur prior to departure.

“Everyone is urged to bring and wear gloves and to wear long legged pants and closed-toed shoes,” Nicholson said. “Be prepared for inclement weather and follow safety instructions.”

From 8 a.m. until noon, the collected trash can be brought back to the Home Depot parking lot for disposal. Here, soft drinks, hot dogs and water will also be available to the volunteers.

“…As the volunteers come back from cleaning up their assigned roadside they can stop by the refreshment stand,” Nicholson said.

According to Nicholson, there will also be an electronic recycling event for those who wish to discard used or unwanted electronic devices that cannot be collected during the Trash-Off. This event, known as “E-Cycle,” will take place from 8 a.m. to noon Saturday at the Red River Valley Fairgrounds.

Although there has been a slight decline in civic leadership since previous years, Nicholson does not anticipate an end in the near future.

“The civil leaders from our county know the importance of trash abatement. We will be there to help out with the event regardless,” he said. “It would really help out if more civic minded citizens would come out to help with the event. I think it’s a matter of getting the word out to the public about the event.”

So, whether you wish to help clean up the streets with the Spring Trash-Off or simply recycle your old computer or monitor, any assistance, no matter the capacity, is invaluable.

“’Keep Paris Beautiful-Make Lamar County Shine’ encourages all citizens of the county to get involved in a beautification project on the 19th and help make a difference where they live,” Nicholson said.

Keeping Paris beautiful: a reward in itself.
According to Nicholson, the timeline for the Trash-Off will be as follows:

7 a.m. – Court-ordered community service worker sign-in

7:30 a.m. – Safety meeting for probationers

7:45 a.m. – Safety meeting for crew leaders

8 a.m. – Assignment folders and trash bags are handed out to volunteers

8 a.m. to noon- Bagged and loose debris are brought back to the Home Depot and put into the collection container

Noon – Court-ordered community service workers can sign out after gaining permission to do so.


For more information about anything listed in this article, contact Jimmy Don Nicholson at 903.517.2394, Edwin Pickle at 903.785.6320 or the Lamar County Chamber of Commerce.

For more information about E-Cycle, contact Robert Talley at Paris Code Enforcement at 903.784.9219.

For more information about “Don’t mess with Texas” and its efforts statewide, visit

By Courtney McNeal, eParisExtra







Trail de Paris boasts new yoga park, painted trashcans

YogaPark01Trail de Paris has some new amenities to help improve health and catch the eye while keeping it clean.

“One is a trashcan project, a partnership between the Friends of the Trail and the Paris Junior College art department,” said Earl Erickson, one of the trail’s founders. “The second one is an outdoor yoga park.”

As a means of giving back to the community, the Valley of the Caddo Museum and Cultural Center decided to purchase two park benches for the trail and donate $400 to the North East Texas Trail Coalition for filing for tax exempt status, said Jimmy Don Nicholson, community service coordinator with Lamar County Adult Probation and chairman of the VOC museum. One bench was placed a little west of 12th Street Southeast. The board then decided to improve the land across from the bench.

“At first, we thought we would simply install ornamental plants on the land, thus enhancing the natural environment there,” he said. “Trail users intrigued with the idea of the ornamental garden began to stop and ask what we were doing.”

Those conversations led to stories of how being in nature had helped people with “mind, body, spirit and emotional good health,” he said. Others spoke of how yoga therapy had helped them at work and home. And so the idea of building a yoga park was born.

YogaPark02Nicholson took the ideas and drew up plans for the park. The idea was presented to city officials and brought to life thanks to the efforts of trail users, the city, Keep Paris Beautiful/Make Lamar County Shine, members of the Valley of the Caddo Museum and Lamar County Adult Probation Community Services.

“The park is a gift to the community and is part of the Trail de Paris and is overseen by the trail manager and the city,” Nicholson said. “The VOC Museum is developing a yoga club which will function much like the Star Gazer Club. There are plans in the works for yoga classes to be held at the Yoga Park, but the park is open to the public for use now.”

The idea of painted trashcans came from conversations among Erickson, Paris Junior College art teacher Susan Moore and Friends of the Trail about ways to assist the PJC Art League with its goal to enrich the Paris area with public artworks.

“Each can represents six weeks of planning and execution,” Moore said. “Although paint and supplies were donated by Sherwin Williams, the students often used their own paint, and a whole host of inventive techniques, to bring the project to fruition.”

This semester’s art students comprising the PJC Art League painted the trash cans, including Baron Capers, Chelsea TrashCans02de la Rosa, Stephanie Eller, Riley Hodneg, Anita O’Neal, Alex Ricketts, Montel Thomas, Amanda Lair-Barnett, Jenaveve Lester and Candra Wyatt.

“This was their first big project,” Moore said. “New cans were scheduled to be placed along the Trail, and it seemed a great opportunity to engage the students as well as give them the opportunity to do original paintings that would be available for public viewing.”

This was not Moore’s first art project for the Trail de Paris. Five years ago her drawing students created murals that decorate the underpass where the trail the loop. She also helped create the scaled solar system that had been painted on the track itself with the help of George Leonberger, a retired instructor, and a student, Michael Thacker.

“We plan to re-do the existing murals that have weathered quite a bit over the past five years, and beautify other areas in town as opportunities become available,” Moore said.

Children’s Advocacy Center has two Job Openings

CACParisHeaderThe Children’s Advocacy Center of Paris (CAC) has two current job openings for a Counselor and an Administrative Assistant.  Interested candidates should contact Rebecca Peevy, Executive Director at 903-784-5787 or email

Below is a job description for each available position.

POSITION TITLE:                     Administrative Assistant

RESPONSIBLE TO:                   Executive Director

Purpose/Function:  The goal of the Administrative Assistant is to provide support to the overall CAC Program by assisting clients and families, by assisting CAC staff and performing duties necessary for the day to day operation of the CAC.  All staff will maintain strict confidentiality regarding all cases, clients, perpetrators, etc.


  • High school diploma or GED; prior experience or some college is preferred.
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills including grammar, punctuation, spelling, proofreading and telephone skills.
  • Must be organized, flexible and able to prioritize and handle multiple tasks and various staff in a sometimes faced-paced environment.
  • Proficient in the use of a computer including typing, email, internet, websites, Microsoft Office including Word and Excel, and ability to learn other computer programs.
  • Ability to handle confidential information.
  • Ability to work well with others, including children, youth and families and get along with a variety of people from various disciplines
  • Physical Requirements include being able to go up and down two flights of stairs and at times lift/carry up to 20 lbs.
  • Must be able to use personal vehicle in completing errands.
  • Must pass a thorough criminal & CPS background investigation


  1. Greet families and ensure they are comfortable.  Supervise children if needed during pre-interview meeting
  2. Complete general office needs such as answering the phones, fax, copy, etc.
  3. Complete errands such as making bank deposits, conduct business at the post office, Rainbow Room shopping and other local errands as assigned.
  4. Maintaining and ordering office supplies as needed
  5. Ensuring that office equipment is functioning properly
  6. File and file maintenance for accounting records and in-kind donations.
  7. Complete thank you notes, invoices and receipts to donors & fundraising sponsors.
  8. Maintain client database as needed, donor database and other databases/spreadsheets as needed.
  9. Assist Family Advocate in providing follow up letters and surveys to clients
  10. Preparation for multidisciplinary team (MDT) meetings including:
    1. Arrange for lunch
    2. Assist Family Advocate with reports
  11. Keep records of all incoming/outgoing inventory
  12. Assisting clients & workers with Rainbow Room requests
  13. Complete newsletter and fundraiser mail outs
  14. Supervise and schedule volunteers  and community service workers
  15. Assist Executive Director in preparing written information, reports, fundraising materials, etc. for the Board of Directors.
  16. Assist Executive Director in maintaining and updating agency website.
  17. Assist Finance Director in grant and finance preparation.
  18. Maintain confidentiality of all client information and other agency information as required.
  19. Assist Executive Director with other duties in the areas of finances, board, programs and community as needed and assigned.
  20. Assist with maintaining a clean and safe work environment
  21. Coordinate meetings, make travel arrangements, and schedule appointments for staff as needed.
  22. Other duties as assigned by the Executive Director

Job Description: Counselor

Reports to:  Executive Director

Purpose/Function:  The goal of the Counselor is to provide mental health and clinical treatment to Children’s Advocacy Center of Paris’ clientele.  Use individual, group, and family therapy in the provision of services.  Use knowledge of cross-cultural awareness in the performance of all responsibilities.


  • Licensed Professional Counselor or Licensed Master Social Worker
  • Prefer experience in Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and/or experience in the field of child abuse and neglect.
  • Possesses tact, good judgment, flexibility, a positive attitude and maintain high professional standards and abide by Licensure code of ethics as well as state law.
  • Requires the ability to work with a team of professionals from collaborating agencies.
  • Ability to get along with a variety of people from various disciplines.
  • Conceptual understanding of the role to the Center.
  • Operates within Center policies and procedures; strict adherence to the confidentiality policy.
  • Must pass a thorough criminal background investigation
  • Be available to travel out-of-town for training 2-3 times a year
  • Be able to travel to area schools on a weekly basis or other work-related purposes.
  • Physical requirements include having an office on a second floor with stairs and at times lift up to 10 lbs.

Primary Duties:

  • Clinical assessment and diagnosis of child victim and non-offending family members
  • Treatment of child victim and non-offending family members through individual, family and group counseling services with evidence-based, trauma-focused treatment
  • Provide counseling services to clients at their school if requested
  • Provide crisis counseling and stabilization services when needed
  • Utilize clinical supervision when necessary to ensure effective treatment of child victim and non-offending family members
  • Provide consultation and regular communication with MDT agencies
  • Provide testimony for criminal and civil courts as needed
  • Clinical liaison to other treatment agencies
  • Coordinate with CPS and other service providers for additional, needed referrals
  • Coordinate multi-disciplinary counseling services
  • Participate in scheduled case staffings and those held on an as-needed bases
  • Responsible for timely case documentation, written reports, and retaining records
  • Participates in presentations/trainings to community and partner agencies.
  • Flexible work schedule to respond as needed
  • Evening and weekend on-call duty as required
  • Other Duties as assigned by the Executive Director

New Hope settling in at new location


New Hope Center Director Gay Ballew looks over the architectural plans for NHC’s new facility. (eParisExtra photo by Jeff Parish)

New Hope Center of Paris is settling into its new home.

“It was like a dream come true,” Executive Director Gay Ballew said. “When we walked in, we knew there a lot of work ahead of us, but we knew it would be phenomenal.”

The organization moved into its new office at 450 SW 4th St. about three weeks ago. An open house is scheduled for 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. April 29, including a ribbon cutting and Chamber of Commerce Live @ 5 event.

The former Department of Human Services building sat empty for more than a decade until the Ram Foundation purchased it for New Hope Center about a year ago and started renovations. The building had to be brought up to code, including handicap accessibility, sprinkler system, restrooms and alarms that will also alert the hearing and visually impaired.

“Nobody would realize where we’ve come from unless they’ve seen the old building,” Ballew said, referring to the former shelter at 777 Bonham St. “We actually have air and heat that work.”


New Hope Center’s new facility is a major improvement over the old one (below), the organization’s director says. (eParisExtra photo by Jeff Parish)

At 35,800 square feet, the space is much larger than the shelter needs, but the plan is to make it a revenue generator by leasing the extra space. Current tenants include the Paris-Lamar County Health Department, East Texas Council on Alcohol and Drug Abuse, Flick Computers and a nutrition program through the University of Texas at Tyler.

One of the largest tenants will be the Paris Good Samaritan Clinic. Dr. Bert Strom will be the free clinic’s medical doctor, Ballew said, and the organization is still looking for volunteers. The plan is to be open one evening a week and gradually expand as volunteers and staff allow. Work is still under way in the clinic’s space. Furniture and cubicle dividers remain scattered, and masking tape and scraps of paper identify offices.

“We’ve got a few offices left,” Ballew said. “Maybe five are still available.”

Models 004New Hope’s side includes long-term and emergency shelters. The emergency shelter has room for eight, and offices can be converted if needed. The long-term shelter can hold up to 52 and will be open to families, single parents and individuals, including emancipated 17-year-olds and homeless veterans who are working or in school. As New Hope is a faith-based organization, couples who want to stay need proof of marriage, Ballew said. Clients could stay up to 24 months.

The center has become an internship site for Texas A&M University-Commerce’s social services program, and Ballew hopes to eventually include the counseling department.

The community stepped up to make the transition possible. Bobby Smallwood acted as contractor on the renovations, and Paul Denny did the architectural designs.

The Saint Joseph Foundation gave a grant for medical services. Another grant came from Hope Charitable Foundation. The United Way provided a computer lab and beds. A partnership with Federal Home Loan Bank in Dallas, Liberty National Bank and First Federal Community Bank purchased dining room furniture and appliances for the kitchen and laundry room.

The sheriff’s office and adult probation helped provide manual labor for the move, as did county commissioners Lonnie Layton and Lawrence Malone. Rocking E Storage provided a crew and truck, as well, Ballew said.

At the center, Josh Flick and Wes and Geri Chappell helped with setting up computers, phones and internet service.

Residents also like the new digs, Ballew said.

“Some miss the other place because it seemed like home, but once they adjust to it, they love it,” she said.